The College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University has provided 22 highly successful individuals in its Distinguished Speaker Series since its inception in the fall of 2011, with several hundred students and members of the University and business communities attending each of the events. In fact, the three events during this semester have drawn more than 2,000 attendees.

A fourth, unanticipated guest in the speaker series will appear on behalf of the business school on April 22, as European Union Ambassador to the United States Joao Vale de Almeida will speak in G-20 Ming Hsieh Hall on the WVU campus at 5:30 p.m.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students, members of the University and the business community to have access to Ambassador Vale de Almeida,” said Jose “Zito” Sartarelli, B&E Milan Puskar Dean. “The Ambassador will have unique insight on the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, which is presently being negotiated between the EU and U.S. The TTIP negotiations focus on removing trade barriers for a number of economic sectors, and discussions have centered on making it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and U.S. Ambassador Vale de Almeida can speak to the impact of those negotiations on West Virginia and their strategic importance globally.”

The EU Ambassador will continue on to Charleston, W.Va., where he will meet with West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and state economic development officials.

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Ambassador Vale de Almeida has worked in his present role since August 2010. Prior to his appointment, he served as the Director General for External Relations at the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body. As the most senior official under the authority of the High Representative/Vice-President Baroness Ashton, he helped formulate and execute the EU’s foreign policy and played a key role in preparing for the new European External Action Service introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon.

From 2004 to 2009, Ambassador Vale de Almeida was the Head of Cabinet (chief of staff and main adviser) for European Commission President Jos� Manuel Barroso. He accompanied President Barroso in all European Council (EU Summit) meetings and ensured coordination with the private offices of heads of state and governments in all 27 EU member states. He was also the President’s personal representative for the negotiations on the Treaty of Lisbon.

Ambassador Vale de Almeida acted as the EU “Sherpa” for the G8 and G20 Summits. In this capacity he attended annual G8 Summits in Gleneagles, Scotland; St Petersburg, Russia; Heiligendamm, Germany; Toyako-Hokkaido, Japan; L’Aquila, Italy; and Muskoka, Canada, between 2005 and 2010. He accompanied President Barroso in the launching of G20 Summits in late 2008 in Washington and in subsequent meetings in London, Pittsburgh and Toronto in 2009 and 2010. He also attended Summit meetings with EU’s strategic partners around the world.

Earlier in his career in the European institutions, Ambassador Vale de Almeida held several senior positions in the European Commission and the Economic and Social Committee and worked closely in different capacities with and under the authority of former Commission Presidents Jacques Delors, Jacques Santer and Romano Prodi. Immediately before joining President Barroso’s team in 2004, he held a senior position in the Directorate General for Education and Culture after serving as Deputy Chief Spokesman of the European Commission.

Ambassador Vale de Almeida joined the European Commission in 1982 at its Delegation in Lisbon, after spending seven years as a journalist. He holds a degree in History from the University of Lisbon and has studied and received training in journalism and management in the United States, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Ambassador Vale de Almeida was decorated by the President of the Republic of Portugal with the ‘Gr�-Cruz da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique’ (Grand Cross of the Order of the Infante D. Henrique) in 2011.

For further information on the WVU College of Business and Economics and the Distinguished Speaker Series, please visit



CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics

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