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H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Former Mozambique President to speak at the International Symposium

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Born in 1939, 22 October in Malehice – Gaza province of Mozambique, and as a young man, Joaquim Alberto Chissano was already politically active in his native Mozambique, at the time, a Portuguese colony.  When he went to Portugal to study medicine in 1961, he was forced to flee because of his affiliations and sought refuge in France.  In 1962, he traveled to Tanzania and became a founding member of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO).  Chissano played a fundamental role in the 1974 negotiations on the independence of Mozambique, between FRELIMO and the Portuguese Government, taking office as prime minister of the transitional government. When Mozambique became independent on 25 June 1975, Chissano was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.  With the tragic death of President Samora Machel in 1986, Chissano was elected as his successor.  

He led positive socio-economic reforms, culminating with the adoption of the 1990 constitution that led Mozambique to the multi-party system and to an open market.  Chissano also led successful negotiations with former rebels, ending 16 years of a destabilizing war in 1992.  In 1994, he won the first multiparty elections in the history of his country, and was re-elected in 1999.  Despite being permitted to do so by the constitution, he voluntarily decided not to stand in the 2004 presidential elections. 

Among the many high positions Chissano subsequently held, he was Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Chairperson of the African Union. After retiring from office, he was appointed Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2005 Summit to Review the Implementation of the Millennium Declaration, as well as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Guinea-Bissau, Democratic Republic of Congo and to the affected areas by the LRA in Uganda.

Currently, he is the Chairperson of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation (aims: peace promotion, social and economic development and culture), and of the Africa Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government. Chissano is member of the board of Club of Madrid, The Hunger Project, International Crisis Group, Peace Parks Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador for CPLP (Portuguese Spoken Countries Community) and Global Partnership Initiative Youth Ambassador.   

He has received the highest awards from many countries and has received several prizes, including the inaugural Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership in 2007.