30 Surprising Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About António Guterres


António Guterres, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, has been ranked as the best Prime Minister of the previous 30 years, in the polls held for the Portuguese public in years 2012 as well as 2014. Here are some little known facts about the Portuguese politician and diplomat:

  1. He became the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, on January 1, 2017, succeeding Ban Ki-moon, following his formal election by the UN General Assembly on October 13, 2016.
  2. He served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from the year 2005 till 2015, previous to which he was the President of the Socialist International from 1999 to 2005.
  3. He became the first Secretary to recognize that advancing technology will disrupt labor markets like never before and that it is time to begin the consideration of stronger safety nets like Universal Basic Income, in September 2018, during his address to the 73rd United Nations General Assembly.
  4. His tenure as High Commissioner for Refugees, was marked by a fundamental organizational reform, cutting staff and administrative costs in the UNHCR's Geneva head office.
  5. As the Prime Minister, he kept a tight leash on budget spending and inflation in an effort to ensure that Portugal met the Euro convergence criteria by the end of the decade.
  6. His style as the Prime Minister was certainly different from his predecessors with dialogue and discussion with all sections of society, along with acceleration of the program of privatizations, and the widening of share ownership.
  7. António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres was born on April 30, 1949, in Lisbon, Portugal to Virgílio Dias Guterres and Ilda Cândida de Oliveira.
  8. He graduated from 1965 from the Camões Lyceum, now known as Camões Secondary School, where he won the Prémio Nacional dos Liceus - National Lyceums Award, as the best student in the country.
  9. He went to Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, where he graduated in Physics and Electrical Engineering, in the year 1971.
  10. He initially started an academic career as Assistant Professor teaching Systems Theory and Telecommunications Signals, before entering politics.
  11. He started his political career in the year 1974, as a member of the Socialist Party. Within a short period, he left his academic career and became a full-time politician.
  12. As High Commissioner, he headed one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations with more than 10,000 staff working in 126 countries.
  13. During his visit to Beijing, China in the month of March 2006, he expressed his objection to repatriation of North Korean refugees by the Chinese government.
  14. After the Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974, he was involved in the leadership of Socialist Party and held different offices from 1974 to 1995.
  15. He was one of the members of the team that negotiated the terms of Portugal's entry into the European Union in the late 1970s.
  16. He was the head of the office of the Secretary of State of Industry for two years - 1974 and 1975. From 1976, he was the Deputy for Castelo Branco in the Portuguese National Parliament, a position he held till 1995.
  17. Following the third consecutive defeat of the Socialist Party in the Parliamentary elections of 1991, he became the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party and leader of the opposition during Aníbal Cavaco Silva's government.
  18. In the year 1988, he became the Leader of the parliamentary bench of the Socialist Party, succeeding Jorge Sampaio.
  19. Guterres, even after becoming the Prime Minister, would head to the slums of Lisbon and tutor free Mathematics lessons for children. He even forbade TV stations and newspaper reporters from writing or broadcasting anything that he did in the slums.
  20. He was appointed as the Prime Minister on October 28, 1996, by the then President Mário Soares, when the Socialist Party won the 1995 parliamentary election.
  21. He was then one of seven Social Democratic prime ministers in the European Union, joining political allies in Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands.
  22. Following the Syrian Civil War, he as the High Commissioner for Refugees, launched a US$5 billion aid effort, considered to be the biggest ever, to help up to 10.25 million Syrians in the year 2013.
  23. Even after the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses by the World Health Organization in 1990, he did not support homosexuality and said that he considered it "something that bothered him," in the year 1995.
  24. In the informal secret ballot arranged for the 15-member United Nations Security Council, following his nomination as Portugal's candidate for the 2016 UN Secretary-General selection, he gained 13 "encourage" votes and two "no opinion" votes.
  25. He appointed American actress Angelina Jolie as his Special Envoy to represent UNHCR and himself at the diplomatic level in the year 2012, which was widely considered as a very effective PR move.
  26. He left the office of High Commissioner for Refugees, on December 2015, after serving the second-longest term in the organization's history, only after Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan.
  27. In the year 2015, he was appointed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as a Member of the Council of State of Portugal, a position he resigned after his appointment as the United Nations' Secretary-General.
  28. He married child psychiatrist Luísa Amélia Guimarães e Melo in the year 1972, and he has two children - Pedro Guimarães e Melo Guterres and Mariana Guimarães e Melo de Oliveira Guterres.
  29. His first wife Luísa Amélia Guimarães e Melo, at the age of 51, died of cancer in the year 1998, at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
  30. He married Catarina Marques de Almeida Vaz Pinto in the year 2001. She was a former Portuguese State Secretary for Culture and more recently Culture Secretary for the City Council of Lisbon.
  31. António Guterres Net Worth: $10 Million

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António Guterres

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