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14 reasons to fall head over heels for the new UN Secretary General

14 reasons to fall head over heels for the new UN Secretary General

Two UN Secretary General (UNSG) candidates were heads of states at the same time. They were also both heads of two of the most important UN agencies at the same time. Only one was chosen to be the next UNSG. Of course, the Security Council chose a man over a woman.

António Guterres is set to become the next UNSG in what was an awfully quick decision by members of the Security Council. He beat out Vesna Pusić, Christiana Figueres and Helen Clark. While it is disappointing that a global institution with a legally binding Charter to promote gender equality cannot be represented by its first female Secretary General, António brings a wealth of bureaucratic experience necessary to navigate the long halls of the Assembly. Here are 14 reasons to fall head of heels for the new UNSG

  1. When I hear “António”, I think of Antonio Banderas


2. He is married to Catarina Marques de Almeida Vaz Pinto

3. His Twitter account is suspended

4. People called to congratulate him and selfied the occasion.


5. He has been at the helm of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, during a period that has witnessed one of the worst humanitarian crisis. Countries have struggled to protect refugees from and people in Syria, and UNHCR has been unable to…Oh, wait…

6. He was a member of Portugal’s Socialist party

7. Apparently, the Russians were blocking his candidacy. Pesky Russians

8. He won an award in 1965 as the “best student in the country” of Portugal

9. He has used the following phrases: “peace architecture”, “peace continuum”

10. UNHCR commissioned flat-pack refugee shelters from IKEA. We can all empathise with the staff and refugees trying to assemble those shelters

11. As Prime Minister of Portugal, he decriminalised the use of all drugs. The country’s drug addiction rate is now 5x lower than the average in the European Union

12. As head of UNHCR, he slashed expenditures on HQ and staff

13. He’s all about that prevention

14. He has a range of hand gestures on which to draw from:


Good luck Antonio!

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Brendan Rigby

Managing Director & Co-founder at WhyDev
Brendan is an education specialist and co-founder of WhyDev. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education exploring complementary basic education and the literacy practices of out-of-school children in northern Ghana. Formerly, he was an Education Officer with UNICEF Ghana, and Director of Venture Support with StartSomeGood. Brendan has also been an education consultant and trainer for Plan, UNICEF, ScopeGlobal and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. He is obsessed with tea, American football and karaoke.

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