Mário Soares, lawyer, historian and politician, was born in Lisbon on Dec. 7, 1924. He married Maria Barroso in 1949, has a daughter, a son and 3 grand-children.
He graduated in Historical-Philosophical Sciences in 1951 and in Law in 1957 at Lisbon University. He taught at a private secondary school and was Director of the Colégio Moderno, in Lisbon. He practised law for some years and during his exile in France he was “Chargé de Cours” at Vincennes University and at the Sorbonne. He was Associate Professor at the Faculty of Arts of Haute Bretagne (Rennes). More recently, he was guest Professor in International Relations at the School of Economics of the University of Coimbra.
An active opponent of Salazar’s dictatorship since his youth, Mário Soares was tried, sentenced and imprisoned 12 times by PIDE on political grounds (delito de opinião). He was deported without trial to Sao Tomé (in Africa) in 1968 and forced to seek exile in France from 1970 to 1974. He joined the MUNAF (Anti-Fascist National Unity Movement) in May 1943 and founded the Youth Movement of MUD (Democratic Unity Movement) in 1946. He was on the Committees for the Presidential Candidatures of both General Norton de Matos in 1949 and General Humberto Delgado in 1958. Member of the Socialist Resistance during the 1950s, he founded the Portuguese Socialist Action in 1964 and Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) in Bad Münstereifel in 1973. He was Secretary-General of the PS from 1973 until 1986 and has represented Portuguese Socialists in several Socialist congresses. He was also the Portuguese representative in the International League of Human Rights.
He was the first exile to return to Portugal after the Revolution of April 1974. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs in provisional Governments I, II and III – 1974-75 – in charge of negotiations leading to the independence of the Portuguese colonies, and Minister without Portfolio of provisional Government IV. He was a Deputy in the Constituent Assembly in 1975 and in all Legislative Assemblies until elected President of the Republic in 1986. Vice-President of Socialist International from 1976 to 1986, he has been an Honorary President since then. He was appointed Prime-Minister of Constitutional Governments I and II from 1976-78. He led the Opposition from 1978 to 1983 and was again Prime-Minister of Constitutional Government IX from 1983- 1985. In 1977, he initiated negotiations leading to Portugal’s entry into the EEC, and years later he signed the Treaty of Accession (June 1985). In January 1986, he became the first civilian President of the Republic of Portugal, and was re-elected in 1991 for a second term of 5 years. Elected Member of the European Parliament in June 1999.
He is currently member of the European Parliament since 1999. Member of the Portuguese Council of State. President of the following institutions: the Independent World Commission on the Oceans 1995-1998; the Mário Soares Foundation, since 1996, the Portugal Africa Foundation, since 1997; the European Movement 1997-1999 (now Honorary President); the Steering Committee of the World Water Contract, since 1997; the Eminent Panel appointed by the U.N. Secretary General to gather information on the situation in Algeria 1998; the Committee of Wise Persons of the Council of Europe 1997-1998; the IPS-Inter Press International (Rome), since 2001; and the Inter-parliamentary Delegation for Relations with Israel, since January 2002, from which he resigns in November the same year. In 1997, he joined the “Groupement d’Etudes et de Recherches NOTRE EUROPE” (Unesco-Paris), The Peres Center for Peace (Telavive) and “International Project XXI Century – a Century of global Challenges” of Gorbachev Foundation (Moscovo); in 1998 the Club of Rome, ONCE (Madrid) and “Vers une Culture de la Paix” – Unesco-Paris; in 1999 Euroamerica Foundation (Madrid); in 2000 General Foundation of the Salamanca University (Salamanca) and Academy of Latinity (Rio de Janeiro); in 2001 UBUNTU-Foro Mundial de Redes (Barcelona) and Club of Madrid (Madrid); in 2002 Club of Monaco.
Mário Soares has published some 30 books, which have been translated into several languages. He has contributed extensively to many newspapers and magazines. His main speeches and public interventions as President of the Republic have been published in 10 volumes.
He has received important national and international official decorations (from more than 40 different countries). He has been awarded several prizes, among them the Joseph Lemaire Prize, Brussels 1975; the International Human Rights Prize, New York 1977; the Robert Schuman Prize, Strasbourg 1987; the Prince of Asturias Prize, Oviedo 1995; the Together for Peace Foundation Prize, Rome 1997; the Louise Weiss Prize, Paris 1997; the Adolph Bentinck Prize, Brussels 1997; the International Simón Bolivar Prize, Paris 1998. The North-South Prize, 2000; the Roma per il Dialogo Prize, 2001 and The International Special Press Prize, Madrid-2001. The President’s Medal of the George Washington University, Washington 1998; the gold medal of Stresemann Institut, Mainz 1999; the gold medal of the University of Berkeley, Berkeley 2000; the honour medal the Schuman Foundation, Paris 2000. He is Doctor Honoris Causa of 40 universities all over the world. He is also a Member of the Portuguese Society of Writers, the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon, Correspondent Member of the Brazilian Academy of Arts, the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Marine Academy of France and the Overseas Academy of Sciences (France).