“I am greatly honoured by the confidence of the Assembly members. Building upon the competence of the staff, I enthusiastically look forward to working together with the members of the Assembly to enhance the impact of the PACE within our 47 member States and beyond, in close co-operation with the Committee of Ministers and the Secretary General”
In January 2021, PACE elected Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis to the post of Secretary General of the Assembly, the first woman to hold the post in the Assembly’s 72-year history.
Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis has been working for 21 years with and for parliamentarians from all over Europe in the Parliamentary Assembly, leading, in turn, its Monitoring and Political Affairs Committees. She started her career at the Council of Europe in 1993 at the European Commission of Human Rights.
She is a Doctor in Law, holding a PhD on the European Convention of Human Rights from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.
Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis was born in Athens, Greece, on 28 February 1967. She is married and has two children.
In line with the Assembly's Rules of Procedure, the Secretary General ensures the proper functioning of PACE and the fulfilment of its mandate. She heads a secretariat of around 90 staff which assists the Assembly's members – including its President – to carry out their work, and ensures the proper conduct of parliamentary proceedings. Combining political acumen, administrative ability, impartiality and personal integrity, she also upholds its unique role as a driving force within the Council of Europe.