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Supachai Panitchpakdi is the former Secretary-General of UNCTAD (2005-2013), the former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (2002-2005) and the former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand.
In 1973, Panitchpakdi completed his doctoral dissertation on Human Resource Planning and Development under the supervision of Jan Tinbergen, the first Nobel laureate in economics. In 1986, he was elected to the Thai Parliament and appointed Deputy Minister of Finance, then in 1988, he was appointed Director and Advisor, and subsequently President, of the Thai Military Bank.
In 1992, he became Deputy Prime Minister, entrusted with oversight of the country's economic and trade policy-making. In this role, he was actively involved in international trade policy and represented Thailand at the signing ceremony in Marrakech of the Uruguay Round Agreement in 1994. He was also active in shaping regional agreements, including Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM).
In 2001, he was appointed Visiting Professor at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne. After that he was appointed Secretary General of the World Trade Organisation, and then Secretary General of UNCTAD.
Supachai Panitchpakdi carefully explains in his seminars the importance of international co-operation through sub-regional, regional and global frameworks. He shows audiences how to successfully conduct international trade negotiations and how to develop new markets. A balanced and informative speaker, Panitchpakdi's presentations are filled with hard facts and real life examples presented in a clear and precise way.