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Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 2000

Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1931) was president of the republic during two constitutional periods: from 1995 to 1999, and from 1999 until December 2002. He graduated in Social Sciences at the Faculty of Philosophy, Science and Arts at the University of São Paulo in 1952 and earned his doctorate in 1961. He then worked intensively in teaching activities.

During the military regime that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985 he went into exile in Chile, Argentina, the United States and France. During the 70's he was professor at the universities of Stanford, Cambridge, Paris and Berkeley. He is the author of several books and studies in the fields of sociology and political science such as "Capitalismo e escravidão no Brasil meridional" (Capitalism and Slavery in Southern Brazil) (1962), "As idéias e seu lugar: ensaios sobre as teorias do desenvolvimento" (Ideas and their position: essays on the theories of development)(1980) and "A construção da democracia. Estudos sobre Política" (The Building of Democracy: studies on politics)(1993), amongst other works. He is the founder of the Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (PMDB)(Party for the Brazilian Democratic Movement), a centre party with whom he was twice senator; he played an active part in the political life of this country, and in 1998 he headed a breakaway group which was to become the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) (Brazilian Social Democrat Party). His international activity has become even more intense since then, being minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs under Itamar Franco, and taking part in all the international forums worldwide on the problems of Latin America. His main concerns in this role were to strengthen links with South American countries and the Southern Cone.

His presidency of Brazil was marked by the strengthening of democratic values, by the improvement of institutions, and the search for progress and a better standard of living for many sectors of society. His prestige was boosted because of Brazil's role in resolving the armed conflict between Peru and Ecuador, and the question of the independence of East Timor. He leads processes of regional integration, aided by the success of Mercosur (economic community of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and has introduced major legal, structural and institutional changes into Brazilian society. These changes have proved to be indispensable to Brazil joining the global economy.

The Great Cross of the Band of the Aztec Eagle, Knight of the French Legion of Honour, the order of Isabel la Católica, the orders of merit of Hungary, Portugal, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Ecuador, the White Rose of Finland and several Brazilian orders of merit all figure amongst his honours. As for the academic world, he has been made doctor honoris causa by the universities of New Jersey, Rutgers and Indiana (U.S.A.), Coimbra (Portugal), the Central University of Venezuela, Chile, Bolonia (Italy), London and Lyon (France) amongst others. He is also a member of Princeton's Institute of Advanced Studies.

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