Antonio Guterres Fast Facts

Here’s a look at the life of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.


Birth date: April 30, 1949

Birth place: Lisbon, Portugal

Birth name: Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres

Father: Virgílio Guterres

Mother: Ilda Cândida de Oliveira

Marriages: Catarina Vaz Pinto (2001-present); Luisa Melo (1972-1998, her death)

Children: A son, a daughter and a stepson

Education: Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon

Other Facts

Guterres is a member of the Club de Madrid, a global organization of former presidents and prime ministers that aims to promote democratic values and leadership worldwide.

Fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish and French.


1971-1975 - Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico.

1974 - Ministerial assistant to Mario Soares, a socialist who later became the prime minister and president of Portugal.

1976-1983 and 1985-1995 - Member of Portugal’s parliament.

1981-1983 - Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and president of its Commission for Demography, Migrations and Refugees.

1991 - Co-founds the Portuguese Refugee Council.

1992 - Is elected secretary-general of the Socialist Party of Portugal.

1992-1999 - Vice president of the Socialist International, a global organization of social democratic, socialist and labor parties.

October 1995-2002 - Prime minister of Portugal.

1999-2005 - President of the Socialist International.

2000 - President of the European Council.

2005-2015 - UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

October 13, 2016 - The UN General Assembly formally approves Guterres as the new secretary-general, succeeding Ban Ki-moon.

January 1, 2017 - Begins his five-year term as secretary-general of the United Nations.

June 18, 2021 - Appointed by acclamation to a second term as UN secretary-general.

April 26, 2022 - Meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss “proposals for humanitarian assistance and the evacuation of civilians” from conflict zones, namely the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukraine, according to a UN readout of the discussion. Later in the week, Guterres travel to Ukraine and meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

October 24, 2023 - A furious diplomatic spat between Israel and the UN breaks out, with Israeli officials calling for the resignation of Guterres after he said Hamas’ October 7 attacks on the country “did not happen in a vacuum.” On October 25, Guterres says he is “shocked by the misrepresentation by some of my statement” and stresses that “the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas,” but does not back away from his call for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

December 6, 2023 - Guterres invokes a rarely used but powerful tool in his determined push for a ceasefire in Gaza, causing outrage among Israeli diplomats. Article 99 of the UN charter allows the UN chief to raise to the Security Council’s attention “any issue that may aggravate existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security.” Guterres, in a letter to the 15-member council, used the diplomatic tool and urged for the body to “press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe” and unite in a call for a full humanitarian ceasefire.

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