Fernando Henrique Cardoso was President of the Federative Republic of Brazil from January 1995 to January 2003, winning two elections by an absolute majority. Since 1960, he was one of the most influential figures in the analysis of large-scale social change, international development, dependency and democracy.
President Cardoso built on a successful academic career to become involved in Brazil’s struggle for democracy to overcome its authoritarian military regime (1964-85). He was elected Senator in 1982, and he was a founding member of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB). He served as Minister of Foreign Relations from 1992-93 and Minister of Finance from 1993-94.
During his first mandate, he kept inflation and the currency stable, he embarked on a privatization plan and put an end to the monopolies in the hydrocarbon and telecommunications sectors. In May 1997, he got parliamentary support to modify the Constitution and introduce the re-election of executive offices, which enabled him to stand for re-election. After winning again in the 1998 elections, Fernando Henrique Cardoso became the first president to be re-elected in the history of Brazil.
Despite the Russian and Asian economic crisis of 1998, having devalued the currency by 90% in 1999 and the difficulties created in 2000 by overseas affairs, like the Argentine crisis, Cardoso’s management allowed Brazil to close 2000 with growth of 4% and inflation at 5.5%. Unemployment fell from 7.6% in 1999 to 6.8% in 2000
Fernando Henrique Cardoso now serves as President of the United Nations Panel of Eminent Personalities on the revitalisation of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. He is also Chairman of the Club of Madrid, co-Chairman of the Inter-American Dialogue. In addition, he is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation and of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
He serves as a professor-at-large at Brown University — and is the holder of the “Cultures of the South” chair at the Library of Congress. Fernando Henrique Cardoso also serves as a Member of the United Nations High Level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor.
President Cardoso paved the way for the economic prosperity that has led to Brazil becoming one of the most powerful economies in the world during his two terms in office. An accomplished sociologist, professor and politician, he is a world leading speaker on encouraging economic growth and the global trade network.