Antonio Guterres, former prime minister of Portugal, who also led the United Nations refugee agency, took the office as the UN secretary general on Sunday, Sputnik reports. He succeeded Ban Ki-moon, whose term as UN chief expired at midnight on December 31, 2016.
Guterres was born on April 30, 1949 in Lisbon. He entered politics in 1976 when he joined the Socialist Party and was elected to Portugal’s Assembly of the Republic. He served as a legislator for 17 years.
For many years, Guterres was an active member of the social democratic organization Socialist International. He served as the group’s vice president from 1992 to 1999 and as president from 1999 until mid-2005. In 2005, the UN General Assembly elected Guterres to head the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Guterres is fluent in Portuguese and three UN languages — English, French and Spanish. He is married and has two children.