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Jorge Sampaio, United Nations High Commissioner for the Alliance of Civilisations and Former President of Portugal to speak at the International Symposium

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Monday, July 31st 2009, Amerika Haus Berlin

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy is pleased to announce that Jorge Sampaio, President of Portugal from 1996 to 2006 and recently appointed High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, will deliver the opening lecture at the International Symposium on Monday, July 31st at 14:00.

Jorge Sampaio served two terms as President of Portugal, during which time he oversaw the return of Macau to China (1999) and campaigned for the independence of East Timor. His Presidency was associated with prudence and moderation, and was notable for its focus on cultural and social issues.

Since finishing his Presidency, Mr. Sampaio has concentrated his efforts on international peace and security and he was appointed to the position of United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in 2007. The initiative aims to improve cooperative relations across people from different national, cultural, and religious backgrounds, and is co-sponsored by the President of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero , and the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Trained as a lawyer, Mr Sampaio held a range of important positions in Portuguese and European politics prior to his election as President, including work for the European Commission on Human Rights (1979 – 1984), serving as Mayor of Lisbon (1989 – 1995), and serving as a Parliamentary Deputy and President of the Parliamentary Bench for the Portuguese Socialist Party (since 1979).

Mr. Sampaio will speak to the Symposium participants on the challenges of strengthening relations between cultures and the role that the younger generation can play in meeting these challenges. Following Mr. Sampaio’s lecture there will be an opportunity for the participants to raise issues they feel are important.