16 May 2006

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Former President Jorge Sampaio of Portugal First Special Envoy to Stop Tuberculosis

NEW YORK, 15 May (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Jorge Sampaio, the former President of Portugal, as his first Special Envoy to Stop Tuberculosis (TB).  Mr. Sampaio, whose appointment is effective today, will work to build heightened awareness of this leading killer of our time.  His immediate task will be to encourage world leaders to strengthen their commitment to tuberculosis control, and to work to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halting and beginning to reverse the incidence of the disease by 2015.

Some 5,000 people die of tuberculosis every day, and more than 8 million new cases are detected annually.  Mr. Sampaio will lead the call for countries to fund fully and implement the Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015, which was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this year.  The Plan sets out actions required to treat and cure 50 million TB patients, and save 14 million lives. 

Mr. Sampaio will work closely with the Stop TB Partnership and the WHO in carrying out this crucial mission for global health.

Mr. Sampaio has led an illustrious career and brings a wealth of experience to his new role as the Special Envoy to Stop TB.  He 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.

Prior to this, 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 European 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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