Benita Ferrero

    She is the President of the EU-LAC Foundation. A career diplomat, she has been Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs in her native Austria, and Commissioner of the European Union.

    She began her professional career in the private sector in the 1970s and entered the Austrian diplomatic service in 1984. In 1995 she was Head of Protocol to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and from 1995 to 2000, she was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. In early 2000, Ferrero-Waldner became Minister of Foreign Affairs, a post she maintained until October 2004. In 2000, she was also President of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    In January 2004 she stood for the office of President of Austria. At the end of the same year, she became European Commissioner for Austria in the Barroso I Commission, taking the office of Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy until the end of 2009 when she became Commissioner for Trade, a post she held until February 2010.

    She has received numerous decorations from countries around the world. She was chosen European Diplomat of the Year by European Voice Magazine in 2007. In 2009, she received the XVI Blanquerna Prize awarded by the Generalitat de Cataluña (Catalan regional government), and in 2010 she received the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria, as well as the Master of the Forum de Alta Dirección.

    She has published numerous articles, essays and books, including “Charting course in a changing world” and “Development Cooperation – Challenges and Visions” (“La Cooperación para el Desarrollo-retos y visiones”).

    She has a doctorate in Law from the Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg (Austria) and an Honorary Doctorate from the Lebanese American University (Beirut).