News Release

Javier Solana, Former NATO Secretary General and European Foreign Policy Chief, Joins Brookings

February 9, 2010

Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO, European Union high representative for common foreign and security policy and secretary-general of the Council of the European Union, is joining Brookings as a distinguished senior fellow, Brookings President Strobe Talbott announced today.

Dr. Solana will join the Foreign Policy program where he will provide counsel on the research program and participate in the policy debate. He will also consult with other Brookings programs, especially Global Economy and Development, on transnational governance issues, and contribute to deepening and broadening the Institution’s international networks and activities.  

“We are deeply honored that Dr. Solana has agreed to join Brookings and look forward to benefiting from his vast experience dealing with the world’s most critical challenges,” said Talbott.  “With his many years of outstanding service as Europe’s leading diplomat and as leader of NATO during a period of transformation and challenge, Javier will make a significant contribution to the Institution’s global agenda. He has been a major figure on the world stage who has showed extraordinary leadership on such international crises as the Yugoslav and Kosovo Wars and the efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and curb Iran’s nuclear program.”

In October 1999, Dr. Solana left NATO to become the secretary-general of the Council of the European Union and its first high representative for the common foreign and security policy. His primary task was to put forth ideas and analyze policy options in an effort to help EU leaders agree on foreign and security policy issues, thereby giving the Union more political weight in international affairs. He also assumed a leadership role in world affairs as the EU’s de facto foreign minister. 

“Dr. Solana will be a tremendous asset to the Brookings Foreign Policy program,” said Martin Indyk, vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings. “My colleagues at the Center on the United States and Europe, the Managing Global Insecurity project and the Saban Center for Middle East Policy are eager to work with him and gain the benefit of his knowledge and experience for their research and program activities.”

After training as a physicist and spending six years as a Fulbright Scholar in the United States, Dr. Solana received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Virginia.  Dr. Solana began his long career in public service when he was elected to the Spanish Parliament in 1982. He held a number of portfolios over the thirteen years he served in the Spanish cabinet, including minister of culture and minister of education and science. In July 1992, he became Spain’s minister of foreign affairs, a post he held until December 1995, when he became NATO secretary general.  At NATO, Dr. Solana is credited with bringing much-needed re-organization and revitalization to the organization’s military structure.

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