António Guterres

Secretary-General of the United Nations since 2017

António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, GCL GCC (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ̃ˈtɔnju ɡuˈtɛʁɨʃ]; born 30 April 1949) is a Portuguese politician and diplomat. He became the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2017. Guterres was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, as leader of the Socialist Party. He also served as President of the Socialist International from 1999 to 2005.[1]

António Guterres

9th Secretary-General of the United Nations
Assumed office
1 January 2017
DeputyAmina J. Mohammed
Preceded byBan Ki-moon
10th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
In office
15 June 2005 – 31 December 2015
Kofi Annan
Ban Ki-moon
Preceded byRuud Lubbers
Succeeded byFilippo Grandi
114th Prime Minister of Portugal
In office
28 October 1995 – 6 April 2002
PresidentMário Soares
Jorge Sampaio
Preceded byAníbal Cavaco Silva
Succeeded byJosé Manuel Barroso
President of Socialist International
In office
November 1999 – June 2005
Preceded byPierre Mauroy
Succeeded byGeorge Papandreou
Secretary-General of the Socialist Party
In office
23 February 1992 – 21 January 2002
PresidentAntónio de Almeida Santos
Preceded byJorge Sampaio
Succeeded byEduardo Ferro Rodrigues
Personal details
António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres

(1949-04-30) 30 April 1949 (age 75)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political partySocialist
Spouse(s)Luísa Guimarães e Melo
(m. 1972–1998; died)
Catarina Vaz Pinto
(m. 2001–present)
Alma materInstituto Superior Técnico
WebsiteAntónio Guterres

He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, and in October 2016 the United Nations General Assembly elected him by acclamation to become the next United Nations secretary-general. He replaced Ban Ki-moon.

Early life


Guterres was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. He studied Physics and Electrical Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon. He graduated in 1971.

He was Assistant Professor teaching Systems Theory and Telecommunications Signals, before leaving academic life to start a political career.[2]

Early career


Guterres' political career began in 1974. He became a member of the Socialist Party. He served as the Head of Office of the Secretary of State of Industry (1974 and 1975),[3] Deputy for Castelo Branco in the Portuguese National Parliament (1976–1995)[4] and Leader of the parliamentary bench of the Socialist Party, succeeding Jorge Sampaio (1988).

Prime Minister of Portugal


The Socialist Party won the 1995 parliamentary election. President Mario Soares appointed Guterres as prime minister and his Cabinet took the oath of office on 28 October that year.

Guterres was a popular prime minister in the first years of his office. Portugal had a strong economic expansion which allowed the Socialists to reduce budget deficits while increasing welfare spending and creating new conditional cash transfer programs.[5] Guterres was against homosexuality during his term as Prime Minister.[6] He supported United Nations intervention in East Timor in 1999.

After the 1999 parliamentary election, Guterres was re-appointed for the office and from January to July 2000. This second term in government was not as successful. The Hintze Ribeiro Bridge disaster damaged his authority and popularity. In October 2000, the Parliament approved the decriminalization of drug use (effective from 1 July 2001)[7] and in March 2001, same-sex marriage were legalized.[8]

In December 2001, Guterres resigned to "prevent the country from falling into a political swamp".

President of Socialist International


Guterres was elected President of Socialist International in November 1999. He remained President of the Socialist International until June 2005.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees


As High Commissioner, Guterres had more than 10,000 staff working in 126 countries providing protection and helping over 60 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless persons.

His time in office was known by a huge organizational reform, cutting staff and administrative costs in the UNHCR's Geneva head office and expanding UNHCR's emergency response capacity during the worst displacement crisis since the World War II.[9][10]

Guterres appointed American actress Angelina Jolie as his Special Envoy to represent UNHCR and himself at the diplomatic level in 2012.[11]

In early 2015, the General Assembly voted to extend Guterres' mandate by 6½ months to 31 December, on recommendation of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Guterres left office on 31 December 2015.[12]

United Nations Secretary-General


Guterres became United Nations Secretary-General on 1 January 2017, following his formal election by the UN General Assembly on 13 October 2016.[13]

During his first year, Guterres made world peace a first priority.[14] In June 2017, he criticized the Trump administration and said the United States would be replaced from the United Nations if they do not take action on any international issues.[15] Guterres criticized the intervention of Yemen and said a war from this would be "stupid".[16]

In 2018, he called Syria a "living hell" in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime.[17] He praised Trump and Kim Jong-un's summit and called it a "crucial milestone" for nuclear disarmament.[18] In August 2018, Guterres wanted an independent investigation into a Saudi Arabian air strike in Yemen that killed 51 people.[19]

Personal life


In 1972, Guterres married Luísa Amélia Guimarães e Melo. They had had two children.[20][21] She died at a London hospital from cancer in 1998.[22]

In 2001, he married his second wife Catarina Marques de Almeida Vaz Pinto.[23]


  1. Alexander, Harriet (5 October 2016). "Who is Antonio Guterres, the next Secretary-General of the United Nations?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  2. SAPO. "António Guterres: católico, socialista e político por acréscimo - Atualidade - SAPO 24". Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  3. "Antonio Guterres, former Portugal Prime Minister, next United Nations secretary general". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  4. "Biografia". Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  5. Peter Wise (6 October 2016), 5 things to know: Portuguese who said no to EU but yes to UN Financial Times
  6. Nuno Miguel Ropio (23 May 2010). "A longa marcha dos direitos homossexuais". Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016 – via Jornal de Notícias.
  7. Lei n.º 30/2000, de 29 de Novembro. 29 November 2000. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  8. Lei n.º 7/2001, de 11 de Maio. 7 May 2001. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  9. Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "António Guterres (Portugal): 2005-2015". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  10. Who is Antonio Guterres? Meet the UN's next secretary-general BBC News, 6 October 2016.
  11. Angelina Jolie appointed as Special Envoy of High Commissioner Guterres UNHCR, press release of 17 April 2012.
  12. Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Previous High Commissioners". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  13. "UN News - António Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General by acclamation". United Nations Centre. United Nations News Service. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  14. Dinesh, Singh. "Guterres Puts Peace First". ABC Live. Archived from the original on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  15. Ledrer, Edith. "UN chief: US will be replaced if it disengages from world". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  16. "UN chief Antonio Guterres renews calls to stop 'stupid war' in Yemen, urges Donald Trump to pressurise Saudi Arabia". The First Post. 11 December 2017.
  17. "Eastern Ghouta Syria: The neighbourhoods below the bombs". BBC. 2 March 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  18. "UN chief says Trump-Kim summit 'important milestone'". Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  19. "Saudi-led coalition to probe Yemen air raid, Houthis report 40 children dead". Reuters. August 10, 2018.
  20. "Who is Antonio Guterres? Meet the UN's next secretary-general". BBC. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  21. Hume, Tim. "Portugal's Antonio Guterres poised to become next UN secretary-general".
  22. Portuguese honor Guterres - News - - New Bedford, MA
  23. Nations, Evelyn Leopold Veteran journalist reporting from the United (5 October 2016). "World's Top Diplomat -- It's Guterres Of Portugal! - Huffington Post". Retrieved 15 October 2016.

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