Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Former European Commissioner

Born in Salzburg on 5 September 1948, Benita Ferrero-Waldner is a Doctor of Law by the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (Austria), a diplomat and Honorary Doctor of the Lebanese American University (Beirut). She speaks five languages and has published numerous articles, essays and books, notably including Charting Course in a Changing World.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner began her professional career in the private sector in the 1970s, subsequently joining the Austrian diplomatic service in 1984 as Cultural Attaché of the Austrian Embassy in Madrid and then going on to her country’s embassies in Senegal and France, in addition to holding diverse positions in the Republic of Austria’s Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1995 she was the Chief of Protocol of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and between 1995 and 2000 she was Austria’s Secretary of State under the Social Democrat governments of Franz Vranitzky and Viktor Klima. When Wolfgang Schüssel was elected Chancellor of Austria at the beginning of the year 2000, Benita Ferrero-Waldner became Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position which she held until October 2004. During that same period she was Vice-President of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In January 2004 she was the candidate to the Presidency of Austria. That same year she became the European Commissioner for Austria on the Barroso Commission, succeeding Franz Fischler, and she took charge of the portfolio of Foreign Affairs and European Neighborhood Policy until 2009, when she became Commissioner for Commerce, European Neighborhood Policy and the Europaid Cooperation Office, a position which she held until February 2010. Benita Ferrero-Waldner has recently been appointed Member of the Board of Directors of Gamesa, Spain’s world-leading company in the manufacture of wind turbines, and of the Board of Directors of the German insurance company Munich-Re.
She has received honors in various countries, including that of European Diplomat of the Year by the European Voice magazine (2007) and the 16th Blanquerna Prize, granted by the Generalitat of Catalonia (2009).

 

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