Newsback to top
Alejandro Jara was born in 1949 in Santiago, Chile. He studied high school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Santiago, Chile. In 1973 he obtained his law degree from the Universidad de Chile. With the support of a Fulbright scholarship he pursued graduate studies at the Law School, University of California at Berkeley (1975-1976).
In 1976 he joined the Foreign Service of Chile where he has specialized in international economic relations. He served in the Delegation of Chile to the GATT in Geneva (1979-1984) and was seconded to the Economic System for Latin America (SELA) in Caracas as Coordinator for Trade Policy Affairs. He was appointed Director for Bilateral Economic Affairs (1993-1994), Director for Multilateral Economic Affairs (1994-1999). During 1996 — 1997 he also served as Chile’s Senior Official to APEC. At the same period he was deputy Chief negotiator for the Chile — Canada Free Trade Agreement and in 1997-1998 he was Chief negotiator for the Chile — Mexico Free Trade Agreement. In July 1999 he was designated Director General for International Economic Relations.
In June 2000 he was appointed as Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Chile to the World Trade Organization in Geneva. During 2001 he served as Chairperson of the Committee on Trade and Environment of the WTO. In February 2002 he was elected as Chairman of the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services, which is in charge of the negotiations mandated by Ministers in Doha. He is author of numerous articles and papers on international trade.
Mr. Jara is married to Daniela Benavente and has three children, Rafael Alejandro (1986), Octavia Verónica (2003) and Matilde (2007).
back to top
Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza
Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza currently occupies the post of Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization. In this role, which she took up in October 2005, Mrs. Sendanyoye Rugwabiza's responsibility covers development issues and policies generally; trade policy review; trade facilitation, and training and technical cooperation. She is also responsible for the WTO work programme on Aid for Trade.
Prior to her current post, she served for three years as Ambassador of Rwanda to the United Nations in Geneva and Switzerland.
Before joining the public service, Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza had a long career in the private sector, at national and international level, where she occupied several senior management positions, including in a Swiss multinational where she worked for eight years.
Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza was a member of the economic and social Council of the President of Rwanda, a founding member of the Rwandan Women's Caucus, the association of women entrepreneurs, and the Rwandese federation of the private sector.
Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza is married to John Paulin Sendanyoye.
back to top
Harsha Vardhana Singh
Harsha Vardhana Singh completed his Masters in Economics from Delhi in 1979 and went to the University of Oxford (U.K.) as a Rhodes Scholar from India to obtain his M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Economics.
He worked as consultant with the Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices (Government of India) in New Delhi, and ILO and UNCTAD in Geneva before joining the GATT Secretariat. Mr. Singh worked for 12 years in the GATT/WTO Secretariat, in various parts of the organization, including the Office of the WTO Director General (1996-97), the Trade and Environment and Technical Barriers to Trade Division (1995-96), Rules Division (1991-95), Trade Policy Review Division (1989-1991), and the Economic Research and Analysis Unit (1985-1989). The work covered diverse areas such as servicing Committees in the area of GATT Rules, secretary of dispute settlement panels, Uruguay Round negotiations, interacting with other agencies, and a range of other activities in the Director General’s office including co-ordination of in-house activities and those involving other multilateral organizations.
In June 1997, Mr. Singh joined the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as Economic Advisor, in the year when the Telecom Regulatory Body was established by the Government of India to strengthen the regulatory process and telecom policy reform in the country. Since May 2001, Mr. Singh has been the Secretary cum Principal Advisor of the TRAI. In this capacity, he was Head of the TRAI Secretariat, and was involved in all policy initiatives of TRAI, and all interactions of TRAI with national and international agencies/bodies, including multilateral agencies, regulatory bodies, the relevant bodies in the Government and the Indian Parliament. During this period, Mr. Singh was also a member of several High Level Committees to address various policy issues, and has served as Chair of dispute settlement panels of the WTO. He has also been a member of various trade advisory committees of the Indian government and has worked on the Foreign Trade Policy of India.
He has interacted with a number of research Bodies. Recently, he became
an Honorary Professor at the Indian Council for Research on
International Economic Relations (ICRIER), and a member of the visiting
faculty at the TERI School of Advanced Studies for their Masters
programme in Regulatory Studies. He has authored a number of papers on
trade policy and regulatory issues.
Mr. Singh is married to Veena Jha and has two children.
back to top
Rufus H. Yerxa
Rufus H. Yerxa has served as Deputy Director General since 2002.
Mr. Yerxa has an extensive record as a trade negotiator, diplomat and lawyer. He served as a Presidential appointee in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) during both Democratic and Republican administrations, first as the Geneva-based Ambassador to the GATT (the predecessor organization to the WTO) and subsequently as the Deputy USTR in Washington. In these two positions he played a major role in negotiating and securing Congressional approval of both the Uruguay Round/WTO agreement and the NAFTA accord. Prior to these appointments he was with the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Trade.
After leaving U.S. government service in 1995, Mr. Yerxa was engaged in private law practice. He was a resident partner in the Brussels office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where his practice focused on international trade matters and European regulatory affairs.Mr. Yerxa is a native of Washington State and grew up in the Seattle area. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Washington, his law degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law and an LLB in international law from the University of Cambridge. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. Mr. Yerxa is married to Barbara J. McSweeney. They have two children, Gavin (25) and Haley (22).