Javier Solana: Biography highlights

A highly distinguished European politician Javier Solana has held high office as both European Union foreign policy chief and secretary general of NATO.

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Full biography of Javier Solana

Javier Solana’s background

For the past decade, he has been a familiar face on the European stage as the EU high representative for foreign affairs.

Praised as a great diplomat and consensus builder Javier has a wealth of international experience and knowledge to share with his audience. he began his long career in public service in 1982 when he was first elected to the Spanish Parliament. Solana held many posts over 13 years, serving as minister of culture, education and of science before becoming Spain’s minister for Foreign affairs.

In 1995 he was appointed Secretary General of NATO where he is credited with bringing much-needed re-organization and revitalization to the organizations military structure.

As a European politician, one of Solana’s greatest successes was in Macedonia in 2001, where his actions calmed the country which was on the verge of civil war and he played an important role in negotiations around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During his tenure, he launched 23 civil or military operations including in the Balkans, Africa, Georgia and Indonesia and assumed a vital leadership role in world affairs as the EU’s de facto foreign minister.

He believes strongly that Europeans need to work more than ever toward integration or find themselves surpassed by emerging countries in terms of technological development, job creation, production costs, talent, and creativity.

Javier is now president of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics where he works on Spanish Security Strategy and is a distinguished fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is a frequent and trusted commentator, writing on a huge range of global issues. He is also a frequent speaker at the prestigious U.S. based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Other posts he holds include; chairman of the Aspen Institute Espaa, honorary president of the Centre for Human Dialogue, member of the board of the International Crisis Group, the European Council on Foreign Relations, Human Rights Watch and senior visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

Dr. Solana spent six years as a Fulbright Scholar in the United States and received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Virginia.

Major awards and honours

  • The Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel la Catlica
  • Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
  • The Order of St Michael and St George,
  • The Grand Cross Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • The French Legion of Honor and the European Carlos V Award
  • He has been honoured as the Statesman of the Year from the East-West Institute in New York and has also been awarded the prestigious Charlemagne Prize.


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Watch Javier in action

1/3 videos
Interview with Javier Solana
Interview with Javier Solana
At CEU, Javier Solana talks about our rapidly expanding world
At CEU, Javier Solana talks about our rapidly expanding world
10 - Atlantic Council Freedom Award for H.E. Javier Solana
10 - Atlantic Council Freedom Award for H.E. Javier Solana

He is an extraordinary consensus-builder who works behind the scenes with leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to ensure that NATO is united when it counts.'

Alexander Vershbow
U.S. Ambassador

Javier's speaking topics

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