António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1st January 2017.
Having witnessed the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth, in refugee camps and in war zones, the Secretary-General is determined to make human dignity the core of his work, and to serve as a peace broker, a bridge-builder and a promoter of reform and innovation.
Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world’s foremost humanitarian organizations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades. The conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Yemen, led to a huge rise in UNHCR’s activities as the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution rose from 38 million in 2005 to over 60 million in 2015.
Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.
As president of the European Council in early 2000, he led the adoption of the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs, and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa summit. He was a member of the Portuguese Council of State from 1991 to 2002.
Mr. Guterres was elected to the Portuguese Parliament in 1976 where he served as a member for 17 years. During that time, he chaired the Parliamentary Committee for Economy, Finance and Planning, and later the Parliamentary Committee for Territorial Administration, Municipalities and Environment. He was also leader of his party’s parliamentary group.
From 1981 to 1983, Mr. Guterres was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, where he chaired the Committee on Demography, Migration and Refugees.
For many years Mr. Guterres was active in the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic political parties. He was the group’s vice-president from 1992 to 1999, co-chairing the African Committee and later the Development Committee. He served as President from 1999 until mid-2005. In addition, he founded the Portuguese Refugee Council as well as the Portuguese Consumers Association DECO, and served as president of the Centro de Acção Social Universitário, an association carrying out social development projects in poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon, in the early 1970s.
Mr. Guterres is a member of the Club of Madrid, a leadership alliance of democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world.
Mr. Guterres was born in Lisbon in 1949 and graduated from the Instituto Superior Técnico with a degree in engineering. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. He is married to Catarina de Almeida Vaz Pinto, Deputy Mayor for Culture of Lisbon, and has two children, a stepson and three grandchildren.
On June 4 2019, the United Nations General Assembly elected the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations as President of the 74th session.
Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has had an outstanding career as a scholar and diplomat. He received a BSc (Political Science) from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (1979); an MA (Political Science) from Boston University, United States of America (1981); and a PhD (Political Science) from University of Toronto, Canada (1987).
He started his academic career at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Nigeria, rising from Graduate Assistant in 1980 to full Professor in 1998, and ultimately to Vice-Chancellor, in 2004, a position he held for five years. During his tenure as Vice Chancellor, the University, with about 20,000 full-time students in various faculties, ranked first in the accreditation of academic programmes in Nigerian universities (2007).
Between 2000 and 2004, Professor Muhammad-Bande served as Director-General of Le Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Développement (CAFRAD), in Tangiers, Morocco. Established by African governments in 1964, CAFRAD is the continent’s premier intergovernmental Centre for governance reform. Under his stewardship, the Centre improved much-needed training for senior African public servants, conducted specialized research on African governance issues, and worked with a variety of partners, in particular the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.
From 2010 to 2016, he held the position of Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Nigeria’s most reputable policy institution for training leaders from the public and private sectors, including high echelon officials of Nigeria’s Armed Forces. In that capacity, he inspired a marked improvement in the quality of the Institute’s programming and activities. One of his signature initiatives in that regard was the establishment of the Political Parties Policy and Leadership Development Centre, the first of its kind in Africa.
As Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2018-2019), Professor Mohammad-Bande worked with colleagues from all regions of the world to achieve common objectives. He served as Vice-President of the 71st session of the General Assembly and was active in several forums, including as Chair of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34), Member of the Advisory Board of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, and Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Group.
Professor Muhammad-Bande was an assessor for the National Merit Award (Nigeria) and for professorial positions in universities. He has won merit awards and honours from institutions and governments, including the Government of the United States of America and the Government of China. Most notably, he was named Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), one of Nigeria’s highest national honours.
He is married with four children, and his hobbies include swimming, soccer, field hockey, farming and music.
Seventy-fifth President of the Economic and Social Council
Her Excellency Mona Juul was elected seventy-fifth President of the Economic and Social Council on 25 July 2019. Ambassador Juul is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations in New York.
Ambassador Mona Juul was previously Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2014-2018), Director General for Security Policy and the High North in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011-2014), Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York (2005-2010) and Chair of the 1st Committee of the 61 session of the United Nations General Assembly (2006).
She served as Ambassador to Israel (2001-2005), accredited to Cyprus for the same period. State Secretary/Deputy Foreign Minister at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2000), Special Advisor/Ambassador/Middle East Coordinator in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997-2000) chairing the AHLC (Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on Assistance to the Palestinians). She was Minister Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv (1994-1997). Her first posting was at the Norwegian Embassy in Cairo (1988-1990).
Mona has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1986, during which time she has gained broad diplomatic experience. This includes working in the Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1992-1993) and member of the small Norwegian team that facilitated the secret negotiations between Israel and the PLO leading to the Oslo Agreement.
She holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Oslo.
Ambassador Juul was born 10 April 1959 and is married to Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen. They have two children.
Sanna Marin was born in Helsinki on 16 November 1985. She spent her childhood in Pirkkala and now lives in nearby Tampere with her husband and their daughter Emma (b. 2018).
Having completed her general upper secondary education in 2004, Marin took a Master’s degree in Administration Sciences at the University of Tampere in 2017. Her Master’s thesis, entitled ‘Finland, a country of Mayors’, looked into the professionalisation process of political leadership in Finnish cities.
In 2015, Marin was elected to Parliament for her first run. There she has been member of the Grand Committee, Legal Affairs Committee and Environment Committee. She is member of Tampere city council, which she chaired in 2013–2017.
In 2014, Marin was elected as a second deputy party leader of the Social Democratic Party, and since 2017 she has served as the First Deputy Party Leader.
Marin has been actively engaged in politics since 2006. “Being involved and making a difference represent civil rights for me. Changing things takes commitment. The welfare state or the ground rules for working life should not be taken for granted; they are the result of hard work and determined efforts.”
Environmental values are also close to Sanna Marin’s heart: “Climate change and loss of biodiversity are some of the biggest problems of our times. Addressing them takes strong political will and determination.”
During the government formation talks in spring 2019, Marin chaired the negotiating table that addressed the theme ‘Carbon neutral Finland that protects biodiversity’. She served as Minister of Transport and Communications in the Rinne Government.
Sanna Marin was appointed Prime Minister on 10 December 2019. Marin is the third female Prime Minister of Finland and the youngest prime minister in Finland’s history.
Co-Founder of Afrika Matters Initiative (AMI) and Lead at Youth Employment Service (YES), South Africa
Ms. Farai Lwandile Mubaiwa is project manager at The Aurum Institute, a proudly African organisation leading the response, treatment and research efforts to eradicate TB and HIV. One of her projects is to lead a youth empowerment program – Youth Health Africa - that aims to decrease the spread of HIV and reduce the high levels of youth unemployment by equipping 10 000 youth from heavily-burdened communities with knowledge and education about HIV and AIDS; and providing skills development and employment to ensure that disenfranchised youth contribute to South Africa’s healthcare. So far there are 850 previously unemployed youth benefitting from this project, and by December 2020 there will be 2000 youth. This program directly focuses on the two thematic areas that Farai is interested in: Inequality (bridging and rebalancing the economic and social divide) as well as Shifting Demographics (Young people on the move). Prior to Aurum, she was an intern at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) specialising in youth engagement and environmental policy in Africa. She achieved a distinction for her MSc in the Political Economy of Emerging Markets at King’s College London. Her dissertation on South African Private Companies and Black Women, examined the effect of the Employment Equity Act (affirmative action policy) on the representation, corporate experience and career projection of black women. Prior to her Masters, she worked at Deloitte as an analyst for Strategy and Operations Consulting with clients primarily in mining and energy. She is the co-founder of the youth-led organization Africa Matters. Africa Matters empowers young Africans to lead through leadership skills, capacity building and community-impact projects.
Ms. Tina Hočevar is a young leader from Slovenia, who has been advocating for youth rights, in Europe and beyond, since a very young age. As Vice-President of the European Youth Forum, she leads the organisation’s work on global youth cooperation, particularly through the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organisations (ICMYO) and the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY). Tina's work in this field has been shaped by her prior experiences with initiatives in the framework of the Europe-Africa, Europe-LATAM and Europe-MENA youth cooperation. These include youth empowerment through the Network on Youth and Global Citizenship, advising the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on inclusion of young people in public life and decision-making, and the drafting of the EU-AU Youth Declaration. Tina also coordinates the Sustainable Development, Youth Rights, and Youth, Peace and Security portfolios at the Youth Forum, and has extensive experience with engaging with the European Union institutions and the United Nations on these topics. Moreover, she also contributed to the Council of Europe’s Joint Council on Youth’s work on access to rights, quality non-formal education, and tackling inequalities