Ms. Benita Ferrero-Waldner – Keynote Speaker in the Master in International Relations Opening Ceremony

On Wednesday 2 October, the IE School of International Relations was honored to host Ms. Benita Ferrero-Waldner as keynote speaker during the Opening Ceremony of the 2013/2014 Master in International Relations. Ms. Ferrero-Waldner served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Minister of her native Austria from 2000 to 2004 and then was European Commissioner for External Relations from 2004-2009 and then European Commissioner for Trade and Neighborhood Policy from 2009 to 2010. In her speech, Ms. Ferrero-Waldner shared some personal insights on her career in international politics. She recommended to students to follow their instincts, reach for their dreams and take their cue from chance encounters that could deeply influence their lives. Indeed, Ms. Ferrero-Waldner gave her own personal example. She initially thought she would become a doctor until one of her teachers told her she was a “born diplomat”. Ms. Ferrero-Waldner had no political connections but knew that she would have a career in diplomacy. With the support of her father and her teachers, she reached this objective. In addition to a career in politics, Ms. Ferrero-Waldner also was Head of Protocol to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali. In 2000, she was also President of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Ms. Ferrero-Waldner today is President of the EU-LAC Foundation. The EU-LAC Foundation is active in all areas that form part of the bi-regional agenda between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean. The Foundation focuses especially on promoting the role of civil society in both regions and proposing policies for investment.