Who Is The New U.N. Secretary-General?
By Robin Young — October 6, 2016
WBUR’s Here & Now
The United Nations Security Council today approved Portugal’s former prime minister, Antonio Guterres, as the next U.N. secretary-general, replacing Ban Ki Moon.
Guterres served 10 years as the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, a role he believes has prepared him to serve as secretary general.
Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Michael Doyle, a former U.N. assistant secretary-general, about Guterres and the role he will play on the world stage.
On what Guterres brings to the job:
“I think it’s an excellent choice. He brings three really important traits to the job. No. 1, he was the prime minister — he was the head of government of Portugal, so he brings political talents, which is essential for the role. No. 2, he headed a very important multilateral agency — the High Commission for Refugees. So he knows the U.N. system and he’s dealt with crises. No. 3, he has the ability to inspire — I’ve seen him speak to audiences, including students, professors and others. And he can lighten up a room and to persuade people to do the kind of things that are sometimes difficult.”
On the process of electing the secretary-general:
“Many people around the U.N., including myself, think it’s a high time we have a female secretary-general. And there were some strong candidates. But the key factor that produced the person is the votes of the members of the Security Council, and they make a choice based upon their national interest together with what they think is best for the institution. And often, the first one is the strongest.”