Oral History Project of the World Trading System

The Oral History Project of the World Trading System was the brainchild of Prof. John Jackson, the founding director of the Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL) at Georgetown University Law Center. He initiated the project in 2001 to capture and preserve the invaluable insights and experiences of individuals, who have played a prominent role in the development of this system.

Interviewees have included former senior officials in the U.S. and other national governments, the EU Commission, the GATT and WTO secretariats, and members of dispute settlement panels and appellate bodies. These candid, firsthand accounts about the economic, political, and legal issues and debates that arose are of enormous importance to scholars, diplomats, policymakers, and practitioners in understanding the evolution and current shape of the world trading system and the challenges facing it. It may also provide notable lessons learned for the future.

The Institute relaunched the project in 2021. It is addressing any backlog in the transcription and editing of interviews. Around two dozen interviews were conducted prior to 2015.  Further interviews are envisaged as the world trading system continues to evolve and its history continues to be made. In collaboration with the Georgetown University Law Library, the IIEL is making plans to eventually post a first tranche of the interview transcripts on a dedicated web page that will be created for this purpose.


  • Headshot of James L. Bacchus

    Former WTO Appellate Body Member; Former U.S. Congressman (D-FL)

    James L. Bacchus

  • Headshot of Gaza Feketekuty

    Former Senior Policy Adviser to the U.S. Trade Representative

    Geza Feketekuty

  • Headshot of William Frenzel

    Former U.S. Congressman (R-MN)

    William "Bill" E. Frenzel

  • Headshot of David Hartridge

    Former Acting Director-General and Director for Trade in Services, WTO Secretariat

    David Hartridge, CMG

  • Headshot of Carla A. Hills

    Former U.S. Trade Representative; Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

    Amb. Carla A. Hills

  • Headshot of Prof. John H. Jackson

    Founding Director, IIEL; Former General Counsel, Office of the Special Trade Representative

    Prof. John H. Jackson

  • Headshot of Amb. Julio Lacarte Muró

    1st Chair, WTO Appellate Body; Former Uruguayan Ambassador to the GATT; Former Minister of Industry & Trade; Former Deputy Executive Secretary, GATT Secretariat

    Amb. Julio Lacarte Muró

  • Headshot of Ake S. Linden

    Former Special Adviser to the Director-General; Former Director for Legal Affairs and for Tariffs, GATT Secretariat

    Ake S. Lindén

  • Headshot of Joe O'Mara *pictured with Jane Bradley*

    Former U.S. Special Agricultural Trade Negotiator, Uruguay Round and NAFTA

    Charles J. O'Mara

  • Headshot of Hugo Paemen

    Former Head of European Commission Delegation to the U.S., Former Deputy-Director-General for External Affairs and Former Spokesperson of the European Commission

    Amb. Hugo Paemen

  • Headshot of Andrew L. Stoler

    Former Deputy Director-General, WTO Secretariat; Former U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to the WTO

    Andrew L. Stoler

  • Headshot of Amb. John M. Weekes

    Former Canadian Ambassador to the GATT & WTO; Former Chief NAFTA Negotiator

    Amb. John M. Weekes

  • Headshot of Peter J. Williams

    Former Director for Non-Tariff Measures & Former Secretary of Ministerial Conferences, GATT Secretariat; Former EU Delegate for WTO Accessions

    Peter J. Williams

  • Headshot of Clayton Yeutter

    Former Counsellor to the U.S. President, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and Former U.S. Trade Representative

    Sec. Clayton K. Yeutter