|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS FORMER PRESIDENT JORGE SAMPAIO OF PORTUGAL
AS HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS
Following consultations with the Heads of Government of Spain and Turkey, the co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilizations, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has designated Jorge Sampaio, the former President of Portugal, as High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations.
The High Representative will provide the vision and leadership required, especially to promote the Alliance of Civilizations as a credible and viable attempt to diminish the dangerous tensions between diverse societies and their threat to international stability, as assessed in the report of the High-Level Group of the Alliance of Civilizations.
Mr. Sampaio has led an illustrious career and brings a wealth of experience to his new role. In May 2006, he was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General as his first Special Envoy for the Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis.
Mr. Sampaio was sworn in as President of Portugal in March 1996, and was re-elected for a second five-year term of office in 2001. During his time in office, Mr. Sampaio contributed to numerous international causes, including HIV/AIDS, human rights and the independence of East Timor.
Earlier in his distinguished career, Mr. Sampaio held numerous public offices, highlights of which include being elected Mayor of Lisbon in 1989, a position to which he was re-elected in 1993. Having first been elected to Parliament in 1979, he was re-elected in 1980, 1985, 1987 and 1991. From 1979 to 1984 Mr. Sampaio was a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Council of Europe.
Following his graduation with a degree in law from Lisbon University in 1961, Mr. Sampaio started a notable career as a lawyer. He also played various important and active roles in the 1960s and early 1970s in supporting the transition to democracy in Portugal. Throughout his career, he has written widely on a range of political and cultural affairs.
Mr. Sampaio was born in Lisbon on 18 September 1939. He is married to Maria José Ritta and has two children.
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* This supersedes Press Release SG/A/1004-BIO/3769 dated 15 May 2006.