Joseph Deiss – Former President and Councillor of the Swiss Confederation, former President of the United Nations General Assembly
Federal Councillor, 1996-2006
President of Switzerland, 2004
President of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly
Between 1999 and 2006, Joseph Deiss was a member of the Federal Council, the Swiss government. In 2004, he was the President of the Swiss Confederation. As a Federal Councillor, he headed the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (1999-2002) and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (2003-2006). Mr Deiss began his political career in 1981 as a representative of his party in the cantonal Parliament of Fribourg, Switzerland. In 1992 he was elected Mayor of the Commune of Barberêche FR, a position he held until 1996. In 1991 he became the president of the cantonal Parliament for one year, and was elected to the National Council (1991-1999).
From 2010 to 2011 he was the President of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Mr Deiss studied economics and social sciences for his first degree at the University of Fribourg. He then completed a doctorate a the same University, after which he was a research student at the University of Cambridge. After this period of research, he took on the post of lecturer in economics at the University of Fribourg. He became the Dean of the Faculty of Economics in 1996-1998. Between 1983 and 1998, at several times, he was made visiting professor at a number of Swiss universities: ETH Zurich, University of Lausanne and University of Geneva.
After having left his political mandates Mr Deiss has been president and member of different boards (Zurich Insurance Company Ireland (ZIP), Zurich Insurance Company South Africa (ZICSA), Zurich Life Insurance Company Ltd (ZLIC), Alstom Switzerland, Emmi, Kudelski, Clinique Générale Fribourg, Turck, Delémont).
He also was back as a visiting Professor for Economic Policy at the University of Fribourg from 2007 to 2012.