Ana Palacio Speaker

Ana Palacio

Member, Spanish Council of State; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Spain

Ana Palacio: Biography highlights

Rated by the Wall Street Journal as one of the most relevant worldwide opinion leaders in 2004 and one of the 12 most influential global players in business, Ana Palacio was the first woman in charge of the Spanish Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Known for:

Business Leaders

Based in:


Languages spoken:

English, Spanish

Full biography of Ana Palacio

Ana Palacio’s background

Ms. Palacio is an international lawyer and founder of Palacio y Asociados (Madrid, Brussels and Washington DC), a law firm specializing in European and International Law, and arbitration.

Between 1994 and 2002, Ms. Palacio was a Member of the European Parliament, where she chaired the Legal Affairs and Internal Market Committee; the Citizens Rights, Justice and Home Affairs Committee; as well as the Committee of Committee Chairs. She also participated as member of the Presidium of the Convention for the Future of Europe (2001-2003) in the debate and drafting of the European Constitution.

In 2002, Ms. Palacio became the first woman to serve as Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain (2002-2004). As a Member of the Cortes (the Spanish Parliament), she chaired the Joint Committee of the two Houses (Congreso de los Diputados and Senado) for European Union Affairs (2004-2006).

She further served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group, as well as Secretary-General of ICSID-the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (2006-2008).

Ms. Palacio was a member of the Executive Committee and Senior Vice-President for International Affairs of the nuclear energy leader AREVA (2008-2009), and subsequently held different positions within the EU, in particular:

  • member of the Committee established by the Treaty of Lisbon for vetting Judges and Advocates General for the EU court system (2010-2013);
  • member of the Advisory Group on Foreign Affairs and Security convened by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy (2010-2014);
  • advisor to the European Commission on Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (2010-2012); and
  • Coordinator of the Trans European Networks (2014).

Between March 2012 and October 2018, Ms. Palacio served on the Consejo de Estado del Reino de España (Council of State) – the supreme consultative body to the Spanish Government on legislation and regulation.

She also serves on the Executive Board of The Atlantic Council of the United States and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. She further participates on the governing bodies of several research centers and public institutions, among them as member of the Scientific Council of the Real Instituto Elcano, member of the Council of the ECFR, and member of the Board of Visitors of the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Ms. Palacio is a visiting professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where she teaches a seminar entitled “Global Powers, Institutions and Governance”.

She is a monthly contributor to Project Syndicate, the world’s largest opinion syndication organization, and is a frequent contributor to other publications, including Europe’s World, The American Interest and Politico. She is a recurrent participant and speaker at international conferences and fora.

Ms. Palacio sits on the corporate board of Pharmamar (biotech), Enagás (gas systems), and AEE Power (energy infrastructures); she is a member of the European Advisory Committee of Investcorp (investment), and the International Advisory Board of Office Chérifien des Phosphates -OCP- (fertilizers); and a member of the Governing Council of the Instituto de Empresa (business school).

She holds degrees in Law, Political Science and Sociology. She has received numerous awards and decorations, including the insignia of Officer at the Order of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Georgetown University and the 2016 Sandra Day O’Connor Justice Prize acknowledging extraordinary contributions to the rule of law.



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IEA Big IdEAs : H.E. Ana Palacio
IEA Big IdEAs : H.E. Ana Palacio

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