Harvard Law School graduate Robert Zoellick ’81 has been appointed president of the World Bank by President Bush. A career diplomat, Zoellick emerged as the first choice of economic ministers around the world to fill the post left vacant by Paul Wolfowitz and will face the difficult task of bringing credibility to the institution. His nomination must be confirmed by the World Bank board of member countries.
“The World Bank has passed through a difficult time,” Zoellick said at the press conference announcing his nomination. “For all involved there are frustrations, anxieties and tensions about the past that could inhibit the future. This is understandable but not without remedy. I believe the World Bank’s best days are still to come.”
Zoellick has held several high-ranking government positions, including U.S. Trade Representative. In this position, he became known for his ability to navigate through difficult trade negotiations, forging free trade deals with countries such as Singapore, Chile, Australia, and Morocco. He also participated in peace talks in Sudan and played a major role in the trade talks that brought China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization.
Domestically, he worked with Congress to pass the Trade Act of 2002, which gives the president more power to have international trade agreements approved by Congress.
Most recently, Zoellick was appointed deputy secretary of state, a position in which he stayed for less than one year before announcing his resignation to join Goldman Sachs as a managing director and chairman of the company’s International Advisors department.
In addition to his political appointments, Zoellick also has experience in academia. He served as the John M. Olin Professor of National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy and was a research scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government.
Zoellick graduated Phi Betta Kappa from Swarthmore College and holds a J.D. from HLS as well as a M.P.P. from the Kennedy School.