Socialist António Guterres Appointed as 9th Secretary-General of the UN

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The United Nation’s General Assembly appointed the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General. Guterres will succeed Ban Ki-moon when he steps down on 31 December.

Background Facts According to BBC:

Speaking earlier this year, Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said insiders believed Mr Guterres, from Portugal, “could give the UN the kind of kick up the backside it needs”.

Mr Guterres was born in Lisbon in 1949. He studied engineering and physics at the Instituto Superior Tecnico, before going into academia after graduating in 1971.

But academia only held the fervent Catholic’s interest for a couple of years. He joined the Socialist party in 1974 – the same year five decades of dictatorship came to an end in Portugal – and soon became a full-time politician.

In 1995, three years after being elected the Socialist Party’s secretary-general, he was voted in as prime minister, a position he held until 2002.

Then Mr Guterres, fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish and French, turned his attention to the world of international diplomacy, becoming the UN’s high commissioner for refugees in 2005.