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Carlos Westendorp, new Secretary General of the Club of Madrid

Carlos Westendorp, new Secretary General of the Club of Madrid

April 20, 2010

Ambassador Carlos Westendorp, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, will be the new Secretary General of the Club of Madrid, effective from May on. His new position was ratified by the XXIV Board of Directors and Extraordinary General Assembly, celebrated by teleconference due to the complications after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

The current Secretary General of the organization, the diplomat Fernando Perpiñá-Robert, has expressed his satisfaction at passing the torch to Westendorp who "has dedicated his life to the promotion of Democracy and Democratic values all over the world".

The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democratic values and leadership around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its Members –more than 70 democratic former Heads of State and Government from 50 countries who contribute their time, experience and knowledge to this mission. The Club of Madrid’s membership constitutes the world’s largest forum of ex-Presidents and ex-Prime Ministers and offers today’s leaders an unequalled body of knowledge and political leadership.

From May on Carlos Westendorp will be responsible, among other things, for the day-to-day management of the Club of Madrid and for the coordination of all those activities required to fulfil its mandate.

With this appointment the renewal of the head positions at the Club of Madrid, which began at November 2009 General Assembly , is now finalized. In that time, the Chilean Ricardo Lagos ceded his position to the Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Wim Kok; and they instituted two Vice Presidents, a position until then filled by Irish President Mary Robinson and now filled by Colombian César Gaviria and  Jennifer Mary Shipley from New Zealand.

 

A life dedicated to International Relations

Carlos Westendorp joined the Spanish Diplomatic Service in 1966. Following several assignments abroad, he dedicated a great part of his professional career to the process of integration of Spain into the European Communities. Between 1979 and 1985 at the Ministry of European Affairs, he successively served as Advisor to the Minister, as Head of the Minister’s Private Office and as Secretary General, presiding over the technical team in charge of the accession negotiations.

In 1986, when Spain joined the European Communities, he was appointed its first Ambassador Permanent Representative. From 1991 to 1995 he was Spain’s Secretary of State for the European Union. In this last capacity, he chaired the Reflection group set up to prepare the negotiations on treaty change which led to the Treaties of Amsterdam and subsequently, Nice.

In December 1995, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and served in that capacity until the end of the last government presided by Felipe González.

In July 1996 he was appointed Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations in New York. From 1997 to 1999 he served as the High Representative of the International Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In 1999 he was elected Member of the European Parliament representing the PSOE. He served as Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Trade, Energy and Research until 2003. Also in 2003 he was elected Member of the Madrid Regional Assembly and Speaker on Economy of the Socialist Group.

He was co-founder and Executive Vice-President of the Toledo Center for Peace and is now member of its board.

After the elections of 2004 he was appointed Ambassador to the United States of America, a position he occupied until 2008.

He is currently Principal advisor to Felipe González, Chairman of the Reflection Group established by the EU Heads of State and Government to assist the European Union to anticipate and meet the challenges facing in the period 2020 to 2030.

He has addressed conferences and lectures and has written articles and books mostly on European Affairs, for which he was awarded the Salvador de Madariaga Prize of Journalism. He has been awarded various Spanish and foreign decorations, including the Great Cross of the Order of Charles III and Officier de la Légion d’honneur in France.

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