Robert B. Zoellick ’81, president of the World Bank Group, was recently on the law school campus to receive the HLS Association Award in recognition of his leadership and dedication to public service.
After receiving the award from Dean Elena Kagan ’86, Zoellick took part in a question-and-answer session moderated by Professor William Alford ’77, vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies and director of East Asian Legal Studies at HLS.
More than 100 students attended the session, and Zoellick fielded questions on subjects ranging from international efforts to combat climate change to the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s 2001 agreements at Doha, Qatar and the follow-up meetings at Cancun, Geneva and Hong Kong.
In presenting Zoellick with the HLS Association Award, Kagan said: “His career is a model of committed and effective service to others, and we are deeply proud to present this award to him today.”
Zoellick became the 11th president of the World Bank Group in 2007. The group works with 185 member countries on matters of international trade and development.
Prior to joining the Bank, he served as vice chairman, international of the Goldman Sachs Group, and as chairman of Goldman Sachs’ Board of International Advisors.
In 2005-06, Zoellick served as the deputy secretary of the U.S. State Department. He was the Department’s chief operating officer and policy alternate for the secretary of state, in addition to having lead policy responsibility in a number of areas.
From 2001 to January 2005, Zoellick served in the U.S. cabinet as the 13th U.S. trade representative. He is known for having forged an activist approach to free trade at the global, regional, and bilateral levels. He worked with ministers from nearly 150 economies to launch the Doha Development Agenda in the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 and then to complete the framework accord for opening markets in 2004.
Zoellick was instrumental in completing the accession of China and Chinese Taipei to the WTO. He also completed or substantially advanced the accessions to the WTO of Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Russia.
From 1985 to 1993, he served with Secretary James A. Baker III at the Treasury Department (as deputy assistant secretary for financial institutions policy and as counselor to the secretary) and again at the State Department (as Undersecretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs and as counselor of the Department with Undersecretary rank). For a brief period he was deputy chief of staff at the White House and assistant to the president. He was the lead U.S. official in the “Two-plus-Four” process of German unification in 1989-90.
The citation included in the HLS Association Award states: “Visionary leader, expert on matters of diplomacy, trade, and international finance; your commitment to public service at the highest levels of government and multilateral organization, and your advocacy for freedom and democracy, exemplify the best ideals of Harvard Law School.”