Minister of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou of Greece at a meeting with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon May 23, 2001.
Geórgios Papandréou (Greek: Γεώργιος Παπανδρέου) (born June 16, 1952), commonly rendered as George in English and shortened to Γιώργος (Giórgos) in Greek, is the incumbent Prime Minister of Greece and Minister for Foreign Affairs following his party's victory in the 2009 legislative election. Papandreou has been leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party since February 2004. The son and grandson of former Greek prime ministers, he twice served as Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs (1988-1989 and 1994-1996) and was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2004. In 2006 he became President of the Socialist International.
Papandreou was born in St Paul, Minnesota, in the United States, where his father, Andreas Papandreou, then held a university post. His mother is American-born Margaret Papandreou, nee Chant. He was educated at schools in Toronto Canada, at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Stockholm University, the London School of Economics (LSE), and finally at Harvard University. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Amhest and a master's degree in sociology from the LSE. He was a researcher in immigration issues at Stockholm University in 1972-73. He was also a Fellow of the Foreign Relations Centre of the Harvard University in 1992-93. Apart from Greek and English he is also fluent in Swedish.
Papandreou's educational career reflected the movements of his father, who had been exiled from Greece for political reasons in 1939 and did not return until 1959. His grandfather, the elder George Papandreou, was twice Prime Minister of Greece. The younger George did not settle in Greece until after the restoration of Greek democracy in 1974. He then became active in his father's party, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). As the son of the party leader he had a rapid rise, joining the Central Committee of PASOK in 1984, but few inside the party disputed his ability.
George Papandreou and Donald Rumsfeld
Entry into politics
Papandreou was elected to the Greek Parliament in 1981, the year his father became Prime Minister. He became Under Secretary for Cultural Affairs in 1985, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs in 1988, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1993, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs again in 1994, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs again in 1996 and Minister of Foreign Affairs in February 1999. He was also Minister Responsible for Government Coordinator for the Bid for 2004 Olympic Games in 1997.
In the last years of his father's life, Papandreou's loyalty was severely strained when his father divorced his mother to marry Dimitra Liani, an Olympic Airways hostess. Papandreou was estranged from his father, but their political relationship did not seem to suffer. When Andreas Papandreou died in 1996, George delivered a generous tribute at his funeral, but ensured that Margaret, not Dimitra, was treated as Andreas's widow.
Papandreou received numerous awards and honorary degrees in recognition of his work for human rights. As Foreign Minister he abandoned the sometimes inflammatory nationalist rhetoric of his father and fostered closer relations with Turkey, Albania with which Greece had traditionally hostile relations, and with Bulgaria. He worked without success to solve the dispute over Cyprus; his efforts helped bring together the Annan Plan. Papandreou was unwilling to make concessions on Greece's fundamental position that Cyprus must be reunited, but he accepted that this could not lead to a normal unitary state. He also worked to repair the damage of the Macedonia crisis of the early 1990s.
Greece is a country where dynastic politics have a long tradition, and it was widely expected that Papandreou would eventually succeed Costas Simitis as leader of PASOK and become Prime Minister himself. In January 2004 Simitis announced his resignation as leader of PASOK. On February 8 Papandreou was elected unopposed as PASOK leader. PASOK hoped that electing Papandreou as leader would allow the party to regain the political initiative over the opposition New Democracy party and reverse its slide in the opinion polls. But when the parliamentary elections were held on March 7, PASOK was defeated. He remains party leader and leader of the opposition.
In December 2003 European Voice in the publication "The Europeans of the Year" named him as "The Bridge-Builder" and "Diplomat of the Year". . Le Monde has called him the "architect of Greek-Turkish rapprochement". He is a founding member of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly.
In May 2005 Papandreou was elected Vice President of the Socialist International following a proposal by the former President, Antonio Guterres, at the second day of session of the Council of Socialist International held in Ramallah (Palestinian Territories). In January 2006 he was elected President of the Socialist International.
Honours and decorations
* 1996: Commander of the Order of the Yaroslav the Wise (Ukraine)
* 1988: " Botsis's Foundation for the Promotion of Journalism " award for "his multifaceted struggles, which established the Free Radio as part of our democratic institutions"
Papandreou and his wife Ada have a daughter, Margarita-Elena (born 1990) who currently attends the Athens College. Papandreou also has a son, Andreas (born 1982) from a previous marriage. He also has two younger brothers, Nikos Papandreou and Andrikos Papandreou, and a younger sister Sophia Papandreou.
Preceded by: '
Preceded by: '
Preceded by: Theodoros Pangalos
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