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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Enter Zoellick: of pandas and politics

Enter Zoellick: of pandas and politics

Robert Bruce Zoellick was born in Naperville, Illinois, in 1953. He received his

undergraduate education at Swarthmore and a law degree from Harvard. He worked in

the US Department of Justice for the District of Columbia, before joining the US

Treasury in 1985.

Zoellick's involvement with Cambodia goes back to 1991, when he worked on the Paris

Peace Accords. He served as US trade representative during Bush's first term, during

which time he assisted Cambodia's accession to the World Trade Organization. Zoellick's

last post in the administration of President George W Bush was as Deputy Secretary

of State, a post he held until mid-June 2006. He then became vice chairman of international

operations at the investment firm Goldman Sachs, where he was also chairman of the

bank's international advisers. His other private sector jobs have included being

a consultant at the now defunct energy

giant Enron.

On July 2, 2007, Zoellick, replaced embattled Paul Wolfowitz as head of the Washington

DC-based World Bank. Wolfovitz was forced to resign after being accused of arranging

a raise and promotion for woman with whom he was having a relationship.

A Bush loyalist, Zoellick is credited with playing a constructive role in establishing

a strategic dialogue between Washington and Beijing. This was highlighted in the

press in January 2006, when Zoellick was photographed hugging a baby panda when visiting

the city of Chengdu. Washington's China-bashers were horrified, taking it as a sign

that the Bush administration had "gone soft" on China, but were later reassured

to discover that Zoellick had a special fondness for pandas stemming from a stint

as advisor with the World Wildlife Fund.

- Cat Barton

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