Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Former President of Brazil; Member of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council

Fernando Henrique Cardoso was President of the Federative Republic of Brazil for two successive mandates (from 01/01/1995 to 31/12/2002), winning both elections in the first round by an absolute majority.

Among his more recent functions, Fernando Henrique Cardoso was Chairman of the Club of Madrid from and co-Chairman of the Inter-American Dialogue (2003/06). He is a member of the High-Level Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor. He is also Professor “at large” at Brown University, Providence, and holder of the “Cultures of the South” chair at the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. He recently presided over the United Nations Panel of Eminent Persons on the relationship between this organization and civil society as well as the UNCTAD Panel of Eminent Persons on Enhancing the Development Role and the Impact of that Organization.

He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1931. He is married and has three children.

A sociologist trained at the University of São Paulo, he emerged since the late 1960s as one of the most influential figures in the analysis of large-scale social change, international development, dependency, democracy, and state reform. Building on this successful intellectual and academic career, Cardoso became deeply involved in Brazil's struggle for democracy to overcome the authoritarian military regime (1964-1985). Elected Senator in 1982, he was a founding member of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB). He served as Minister of Foreign Relations in 1992-93 and Minister of Finance in 1993-94.