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Speaker(s): José Manuel Barroso
Recorded on 14 February 2014 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
José Manuel Barroso is president of the European Commission, a position he has held since 2004. He was born in Lisbon and after graduating in law from the University of Lisbon, he moved to Geneva where he completed a Diploma in European Studies at the European University Institute, University of Geneva, and a Master's degree in Political Science from the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Geneva, earning an honours in both.
He embarked on an academic career, working successively as a teaching assistant at the Law Faculty of the University of Lisbon, in the Department of Political Science, University of Geneva, and as a visiting professor at the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.). In 1995, he became head of the International Relations Department of Lusíada University, Lisbon. In 1979, he founded the University Association for European Studies.
His political career began in 1980 when he joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD). He was named president of the party in 1999 and re-elected three times. During the same period, he served as vice president of the European People's Party. As state secretary for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation he played a key role as mediator in the signing of the peace accords for Angola in Bicesse in 1991, and as minister for foreign affairs he was a driving force in the self-determination process in East Timor between 1992 and 1995. Under his leadership, the PSD won the general election in 2002 and he was appointed prime minister of Portugal in April of that year. He remained in office until July 2004 when he was nominated by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament to the post of president of the European Commission. In June 2009 the European Council unanimously nominated him for a second term as president of the European Commission, and he was re-elected to the post by an absolute majority in the European Parliament in September 2009.