H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano is the Former President of the Republic of Mozambique. He was born in the Malehice – Gaza province at a time when Mozambique was a Portuguese colony.
In 1962, he was a founding member of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and subsequently played a fundamental role in the 1974 negotiations for Mozambican independence between FRELIMO and the Portuguese Government, taking office as prime minister of the transitional government. When Mozambique gained independence in 1975, Chissano was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, and in 1986 he was elected President following the death of President Samora Machel.
President Chissano instituted socio-economic reforms that culminated in the 1990 constitution that created a multi-party system and an open market. He led negotiations with former rebels that ended 16 years of war in 1992. In 1994, he won the first multi-party elections in his country’s history and was re-elected in 1999. Despite being constitutionally permitted, Chissano decided not to run in the 2004 presidential elections.
President Chissano has been chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and of the African Union. 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, to the LRA-affected areas, and the SADC Mediator for Madagascar. He led the Comité des Sages in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to facilitate the first multi-party democratic elections there.
Currently, he is chairperson of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation, which promotes peace, social and economic development and culture, and of the Africa Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government. He is board member of the Peace Parks Foundation, the Club of Madrid, The Hunger Project and the International Crisis Group; Goodwill Ambassador for the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries; and a Global Partnership Initiative Youth Ambassador.
He is member of the World Food Prize Foundation’s Advisory Council, the High-Level Task Force for Climate Services at the World Meteorology Organization, member of the Panel of Eminent Persons of UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) and of the Advisory Panel for Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.
President Chissano is the recipient of many awards, including the inaugural 2007 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.