Senator Cristovam Buarque

Member of the Brazilian Federal Senate of Brazilian Federal Senate


Cristovam Buarque is a Mechanical Engineer. He graduated from the Federal University of Pernambuco in 1966, and has a Doctor’s Degree in Economics from the Sorbonne (1973). 

From 1973 to 1979, he worked as Advisor for the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in Washington. Since 1979, he has been Professor of the University of Brasilia (UnB). In 1985 he was elected Dean in the first democratic election at the University, and carried out the job until 1989. From 1995 to 1998, he was Governor of the Brazilian Federal District. During his mandate, he was recognized for his commitment to social inclusion and as an administrator able to turn into laws the ideas previously exposed in his books. Among the several creative solutions conceived by the Professor and implemented by the Governor, the most renowned in Brazil and abroad is the Bolsa-Escola, a revolutionary approach for education and against poverty. 

In 2002, he was elected Senator for the Federal District, with an eight-year mandate. He was designated Minister of Education in 2003, the first year of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s term, an office he held until January 2004. Back at the Federal Senate in 2004, he was elected Chairman of the Senate External Relations Committee.  From January 2005 to December 2006 he headed the Senate Human Rights Committee. In January 2007 he was unanimously chosen Chairman of the Senate Education, Sports and Culture Committee. 

In 2006, he was a candidate for the Presidency of Brazil, presenting a concrete proposal to change the nation: a revolution through education. He received over 2.6 million votes throughout the country. In 2010, he was re-elected Senator for another eight-year mandate. Presently, Senator Buarque is Vice-Chairman of the Senate External Relations Committee and Chairman of the Special Subcommittee for the 2012 Summit Rio+20.