the Ibrah A dedi

the OPEC

World Bank honors founding OPEC Fund DG

he World Bank has honored the OPEC Fund’s first Director-General – the late Dr Ibrahim Shihata – by naming its former boardroom in its Washington, DC main building as the Ibrahim F I Shihata Conference Room. A dedication ceremony at the newly-

iinauguranaugurated conference room was attended by many spe the Egypt former m ecut

y special guests, including representatives of the Egyptian diplomatic community, current and former members of the World Bank Group Boards of Executive Directors, as well as Dr Shihata’s wife and three and three children. Born in

Born in Egypt in 1937, Dr Shihata was the OPEC Fund’s Director-General from the organization’s inception in 1976 until 1983. It was under his stewardship that the fledgling institution known as The OPEC Special Fund evolved into the OPEC Fund for International Development and moved into its permanent headquarters on Vienna’s Parkring, following the purchase of the iconic Palais Deutschmeister. Dr Shihata was a graduate of Cairo University Law School (1957), and of Harvard Law School, where he obtained a doctorate in 1964. He served as Legal Counsel of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and was Associate Professor of International Law (Cairo). After his tenure at the OPEC Fund, during

which time he also served as an Executive Director at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Dr Shihata went on to serve as General Counsel for the World Bank and Secretary-General of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. Dr Shihata retired in 2000 as Senior Vice-President and Special Adviser to the World Bank’s President.


Dr Shihata authored close to 30 books and over two hundred essays and shared his wisdom and expertise in lectures delivered at numerous conferences, seminars, and universities across the globe. He also penned several books about the evolution of the then OPEC Special Fund. These include: • The OPEC Fund for International Development: The Formative Years

• The OPEC Special Fund: Some basic features of the fund and its operations

• The OPEC Special Fund and the North-South Dialogue

In May 2018, the OPEC Fund renamed its Governing Board Conference room to the Ibrahim F I Shihata Conference Room.


“In my role as the General

Counsel and Senior Vice President in the bank, I have not simply

acted as the spokesman for the management, I have acted as the spokesman for the law as I understand or conceive it; not on personal preferences but on research and analyses within

the legal department, and if you take that position you are not

necessarily a very popular person. But, in choice between being popular or being credible, I chose the latter.”

Ibrahim Shihata, Oral History Interview, World Bank Group Archives, May 23 and 24, 2000.

PHOTO: OPEC Fund/Fotozentrum am Schwarzenbergplatz

PHOTO: Nate Langston Palmer/World Bank

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