Belfer Center Home > People > Robert B. Zoellick

« Back to list of experts

Robert B. Zoellick

Mailing address

Not in Residence

Robert B. Zoellick

Non-resident Senior Fellow



Robert B. Zoellick is the Chairman of Goldman Sachs’ International Advisors. He serves on the boards of Temasek, Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, and Laureate International Universities, as well as on the international advisory board of Rolls Royce. Zoellick is also a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is a member of the board of the Congressionally-created National Endowment for Democracy and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Zoellick was the President of the World Bank Group from 2007-12. He served in President George W. Bush's cabinet as U.S. Trade Representative from 2001 to 2005 and as Deputy Secretary of State from 2005 to 2006. From 1985 to 1993, Zoellick worked at the Treasury and State departments in various capacities, including as Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury and Under Secretary of State, as well as briefly in the White House as Deputy Chief of Staff. He was the lead U.S. negotiator in the 2 + 4 process for Germany’s unification, serving under Secretary James A. Baker III. The German Government awarded Zoellick the Knight Commanders Cross for his work on unification. The Mexican and Chilean Governments presented him their highest honors for non-citizens the Aztec Eagle and the Order of Merit, respectively. Zoellick holds a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a bachelor's degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Swarthmore College.



By Date



Carolyn Kaster/AP

October 16, 2016

"After Obama: The future of US foreign policy"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

On January 20 2017, President Hillary Clinton or President Donald Trump will inherit Barack Obama’s legacy, just as Mr Obama still uses George W Bush’s tenure as a reference for his own. In broad strokes, Mr Obama’s foreign policy has reflected a swing of the pendulum away from what he perceived as his predecessor’s aggressive activism and long wars.



Michael Vadon/Flickr

August 7, 2016

"Trump Gets It Wrong: Trade Is a Winner for Americans"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

Donald Trump attacks the longstanding Republican promotion of trade as an engine of growth. The Republican presidential nominee asserts that trade produces winners and losers, that a country should always send more value abroad than it imports, and that America is thus a trade “loser.” Whether he wins the election or not, Mr. Trump’s protectionist views are forcing elected leaders—especially in the Republican Party—to decide whether to continue championing free trade or give up on opening markets.



Mindaugas Kulbis/AP

July 7, 2016

"Why Britain Belongs in a New Nafta"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

At critical moments over the past century, the United States has acted boldly and creatively to secure Europe’s peace and prosperity. After the fighting of two devastating wars across Europe, America’s Marshall Plan spent $120 billion (in current dollars) over four years to spark Western Europe’s economic recovery and political integration. In 1949 the U.S., Canada, and Western European states invented NATO as a trans-Atlantic shield. In 1989 President George H.W. Bush moved rapidly yet deftly to unify Germany within NATO and the European Community, setting the cornerstones of a Europe “whole and free.”



Gobierno de Chile

May 17, 2016

"Trade Is a National Security Imperative"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

In an uncertain world, America's future security depends on both upgrading military capabilities and expanding economic opportunities. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade accord among 12 countries accounting for almost 40% of the global economy, draws together these two strands of strategy. But TPP has been widely criticized by Republican and Democratic presidential candidates alike and faces an uphill battle in Congress.

January 18, 2016

"How to wean the world off monetary stimulus"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

After seven years of extraordinary governmental stimulus, the world needs a shift from exceptional monetary policies to private sector-led growth. The US Federal Reserve’s increase in interest rates sounded the clarion call. China’s market tribulations highlight deepening global uncertainties and the need for new approaches. Three possible ways to generate growth stand out for 2016.



November 5, 2015

"Obama’s Middle East Escapism"

Op-Ed, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

Secretary of State John Kerry’s new diplomatic process for dealing with Syria’s harrowing civil war involves convening a series of talks in Vienna. The effort is probably well-intentioned. But I cannot conceive of what he expects to accomplish.




Monday, September 7, 2015

"China will stumble if Xi stalls on reform"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington this month could be as consequential for the world economy as then-vice premier Deng Xiaoping’s American tour of 1979.



August 21, 2015

We asked Robert Zoellick: What Should Be the Purpose of American Power?

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

My first professor of diplomatic history directed the class to study the back of the one-dollar bill. His aim was not to suggest the commercial motivations of American foreign policy, but instead to help us find the Great Seal of the United States, which is conveniently printed on the back of the dollar.




July 21 2015

"Crucial Weapons in the Defense of Ukraine"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow and Stephen Hadley

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an assault on the vision that emerged from the end of the Cold War of a Europe whole, free and at peace. For that vision to be realized, the war against Ukraine must end, and its government must be able to offer its people a secure, prosperous and democratic future. If Ukraine—a country of more than 40 million people—becomes a failed state, the turmoil will spill into the European Union and likely fuel future conflict between Russia and the trans-Atlantic community.




July 9, 2015

"How the Pacific Trade Pact Could Feed a Hungry Planet"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

With Congress granting trade-promotion authority to the Obama administration last month, negotiations for the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement should be completed soon. The 12-country Asia-Pacific talks offer an unprecedented opportunity to transform ocean and fisheries conservation.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 90% of marine fisheries in every region of the world are now significantly depleted or recovering. Chinese fleets, for example, are devastating West African fisheries because countries such as Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Guinea have weak enforcement capabilities.

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.