Fernando Henrique Cardoso
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CardosoFernando Henrique Cardoso served two terms as president of the Federative Republic of Brazil from January 1, 1995, to January 1, 2003, winning both elections with an absolute majority. As president of Brazil, Dr. Cardoso strengthened political institutions, increased economic stability and growth, and expanded educational opportunities for all Brazilians while promoting human rights and development. During his tenure, high school enrollments expanded by more than one third, and the number of students entering college each year doubled. Dr. Cardoso’s emphasis on improving health care in poor rural areas resulted in a 25 percent decrease in infant mortality. As his term drew to a close, Brazilians named Dr. Cardoso the best president in their history in a poll published in December 2002. The United Nations Development Program also recognized his work with the inaugural Mahbub ul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development.

Dr. Cardoso currently chairs the Club of Madrid and the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations-Civil Society Relations and serves as co-chairman of the Inter-American Dialogue and as coordinator of the working group in charge of reviewing the process of Ibero-American Summits. He is also emeritus professor of political science at the University of São Paulo. His main works in English include Charting a New Course: The Politics of Globalization and Social Transformation (2001, M.Font editor) and Dependency and Development in Latin America (with E. Faletto, 1979). He has received honorary doctorates from universities in Chile, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela. Dr. Cardoso is also foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

A sociologist trained at the University of São Paulo, Dr. Cardoso emerged in the late 1960s as an influential intellectual, analyzing large-scale social change, international development, dependency, democracy, and state reform. He became deeply involved in Brazil’s struggle to overcome the authoritarian military regime in power from 1964 to1985. In the late 1960s, he was arrested and interrogated by military intelligence agents, and his research institute was bombed by terrorists. To escape persecution by the military, he spent the 1970s and early 1980s teaching in the United States, France, and Chile. He was elected senator in 1982 as a proponent of democratic reform and served as a founding member of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB).   In 1986 he was selected as Fulbright Program 40th anniversary distinguished fellow and lectured at Columbia University on democracy in Brazil. Before his election as president, he served as minister of foreign relations in 1992-1993 and as minister of finance in 1993-1994.  

He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1931 and was married to the late Ruth Cardoso, a former Fulbright scholar at Columbia University. They have three children.