Colette Flesch, a native of Luxembourg, graduated from Wellesley College in 1960 with a B.A. in political science, as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a Durant Scholar. In 1961, she received her M.A. in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and she studied at The Hague Academy of International Law.
Upon returning to Luxembourg, Flesch served on the staff of the European Economic Community in Brussels. She specialized in agricultural concerns of the Common Market for five years, until she won a seat in the Luxembourg Parliament in February 1969 as the youngest elected member. Flesch was quickly elected to serve as mayor of Luxembourg in 1970. She was a delegate to the European Parliament in Strasbourg and was elected one of five Quaestors in 1979. Flesch has also served as the minister of foreign affairs, foreign trade and development, economic affairs, and justice.
From 1990 to 1999, Flesch served as a director-general of the European Commission in Brussels and Luxembourg, while simultaneously continuing to be a member of the European Parliament and the deputy mayor of Luxembourg in charge of cultural affairs. In 2001, Flesch was the director-general of the translation service of the European Commission, responsible for translating all communications from the European Union into the languages of its member countries. She was also elected as an EU Election Observer and named chief observer of the Election Observation Mission sent to oversee the Rwandan elections in 2003.
Colette Flesch has served in numerous political capacities. However, before she ever served in political office, she was a member of Luxembourg’s Olympic Fencing Team, competing in the 1960, 1964, and the 1968 Olympics.
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