On January 1st, 2017 Portuguese diplomat Antonio Guterres became the ninth Secretary General of the Uniten Nations. Guterres is a career politician who was Portugal’s Prime Minister between 1995 and 2002. In the past decade Guterres served as the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees. The Portuguese succeeds Ban Ki-moon, who led the United Nations for 10 years.
Born in Lisbon on April 30, 1949 Antonio Guterres went to an engineering school from where he graduated in 1971. He started his political career in 1974 when he became a member of Portugal’s Socialist Party. When Portugal was freed from dictatorship in 1976 Guterres was elected a member of parliament. At the beginning of the 1990s he was named head of the Socialist Party and became Prime Minister shortly afterwards.
During his term as the High Commissioner Guterres witnessed a huge surge in the number of refugees and displaced people. Today, over 60 million people are considered to be without a home, the highest number since World War ll.
Many UN diplomats have welcomed the new Secretary General and praise him for his negotiating skills. In his first official interview, Guterres, who, besides his mother tongue, speaks English, French and Spanish, stated that global terrorism and the worldwide refugee crisis were among his main priorities. He also announced that he was planning to make some major changes in the world organisation, including putting more women in higher positions.
The Secretary General is the highest official of the United Nations. As a type of world moderator, he must try to find solutions for conflicts around the world, ranging from global terrorism to climate change and poulation growth.
Antonio Guterres - the new Secretary General of the United Nations - Image: Agência Brasil
announce = to say officially
career politician = someone who has worked in politics their whole life
considered to be = people think that …
decade = ten years
dictatorship = country who is ruled only by one person who has all the power
diplomat = a politician who often works in other countries
displaced people = people who have been forced to leave their country because of war or disasters
elect = to choose someone for an official position
engineering = work in which you design and build roads, buildings, bridges etc…
global = worldwide
graduate = finish university or a higher school
head = leader
including = also
moderator = someone whose job it is to control a discussion or an argument between two people or countries
negotiating skills = the way a person tries to solve a problem or reach an agreement between two parties
official = someone who is in a high position in an organisation
praise = to have a high opinion of someone
priority = the thing that is most important to you and which you want to do first
range = here: including a number of things
refugee = person who had to leave their country because of war, or for political or religious reasons
serve = to work for an organization
solution = way of dealing with a difficult situation
state =to say officially
surge = if something goes up very quickly
term = time during which he was leader of the organisation
witness = observe, see