Carlos Lopes was appointed Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) at the level of Assistant Secretary-General on 1st March 2007. In addition, he has been serving as Director of the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) since November 2007, the parallel appointment that he received from the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
Lopes previously served as UN Assistant-Secretary-General and Director for Political Affairs in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.
Lopes has actively contributed to research on development issues. Specialized in development and strategic planning, he has authored or edited 22 books and taught at Universities and academic institutions in Lisbon, Coimbra, Zurich, Uppsala, Mexico, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. He is affiliated with a number of academic networks, and has helped establish various non-governmental organizations and centers for social research, in particular in Africa. In August 2008, Carlos Lopes was elected to the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, Portugal. Lopes currently serves as Member of Governing Boards or advisory and editorial committees of several institutions including United Nations University, Kofi Annan Foundation, UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, Bonn International Center for Conversion, Swiss Network for International Studies, ISCTE Lisbon University Institute, Instituto Ethos, Ecôle Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, King Baudouin International Development Prize Selection Committee and journals such as Géopolitique Africaine, African Sociological Review, African Identities, Cooperation South Journal.
Following his service in the public sector of his native Guinea-Bissau in areas of research, diplomacy and planning, Lopes joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as a development economist in 1988. While at UNDP, he occupied various positions, including Deputy Director at the Office of Evaluation and Strategic Planning, Resident Representative in Zimbabwe, as well as Deputy, and later Director of the New York-based Bureau for Development Policy. Lopes was a member of UNDP’s executive team, in recognition of the role he played in developing UNDP’s decentralized policy advisory services and knowledge networking systems. He also managed UNDP’s global programme, with a portfolio of $1 billion. In June 2003, he became the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Brazil, the largest UNDP programme in the world at that time.
Carlos Lopes holds a PhD in history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and a research master from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. He has also received an Honorary PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Cândido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.