Jorge Sampaio started his political career as a college student at University of Lisbon’s Law School. In 1978, he joined the Socialist Party. He was later elected deputy for Lisbon in the Portuguese National Parliament the following year. From 1979 until 1984, he was a member of the European Commission for Human Rights. He later became the president of the parliamentary bench of the Socialist Party. From 1989 to 1991, he was president of this political group. Sampaio won the presidential election in his country, Portugal, in 1996 and then for a second term in 2001 serving until March 2006.
In May 2006, he was appointed by the United Nations’ Secretary-General as his first Special Envoy to Stop TB. His tenure ended in December 2012. In May 2007 he was appointed as United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. He stepped down, upon his request, in 28 February 2013.
During the last decade, President Sampaio gave his contribution to several issues, related to the European affairs and to almost all the challenges currently facing the international community, ie pandemics like HIV-AIDS, Drugs, Children, Human Rights, East Timor etc
Now he is chairing the Global Platform for Syrian Students, a multistake-holders initiative aimed at providing emergency academic assistance to Syrian students. He is also a member of the Global Commission on Drugs Policy and of the Club of Madrid. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and he presides the jury of the Calouste Gulbenkian International Prize.