Meridian IVLP Alum Becomes U.N. Secretary General

U.N. Secretary-General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres (via UN Geneva on Flickr)


This post is the first entry in a new blog series that will detail the itineraries of both current and former Heads of State that participated in the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) through Meridian International Center. The entry below summarizes the IVLP itinerary of recently elected U.N. Secretary-General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres.

Visitor: U.N. Secretary General (as of January 2017) António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres
Country of Origin: Portugal
Program Year: 1978
Travel Itinerary: Washington, DC; Denver, CO; San Francisco, CA; Grand Canyon, AZ; New Orleans, LA; Orlando, FL; New York, NY; Boston, MA

On January 1st, 2017 former Portuguese Prime Minister (1995-2002) Antonio Guterres officially began his role as the 9th Secretary-General of the United Nations. We at Meridian International Center were delighted to hear this, as Mr. Guterres participated in an IVLP that Meridian facilitated in 1978. This blog entry will provide insight into his program and introduce his professional background and objectives in travelling to the United States at that time. For those interested in more information about his current agenda, you can read about it here.

Let us make 2017 a year for peace.” – @Antonioguterres, January 1st, 2017

When he was selected to participate in the IVLP, Mr. Guterres was a leading Member of Parliament within the Portuguese Assembleia da República (Assembly of the Republic). He was also acting as both the National Secretary for Research of the Socialist Party of Portugal and the President of the Parliamentary Commission for Economy, Finance, and Planning. His responsibilities in both positions likely contributed to his interest in having “discussions with politicians, academics, and bankers in the area of economic problems and Portuguese-American relations.” These exchanges would take place with a variety of actors over a month-long period in cities including Washington, DC, San Francisco, and New York.

Travel itinerary (Read Washington, DC – Boston, MA)
Travel itinerary (Read Washington, DC – Boston, MA)

Mr. Guterres began his IVLP experience in Washington, where he met representatives of several public and private sector organizations, including the Treasury Department, the State Department and the World Bank. The next day he travelled to San Francisco to meet with educators and bankers about the state of economic relations between the U.S. and Portugal. Shortly thereafter, he had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona before travelling on to New Orleans, where he examined the role of local government and federal/state relations in the United States.

After a stopover in Florida, Mr. Guterres traveled to New York for professional meetings on topics such as the relationship between the U.S. federal government and the central banking system. He visited Niagara Falls briefly before finishing his IVLP in Boston, where he met with faculty from the Harvard Business School and several departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At these two major research universities, Mr. Guterres examined programs of study and explored perspectives on U.S.-Portuguese relations.

From there, the rest is history.

This post is a part of a series that profiles both current and former heads of state that have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program under the facilitation of Meridian International Center. If you are interested in reading more about the Heads of State that have travelled on Meridian administered IVLPs throughout the years, check out the following blogs.

A Profile of IVLP Alumni Becoming Heads of State
IVLP 75th Anniversary Time-lapse Map