6. Celso Amorim
for transforming Brazil into a global player.
Foreign minister | Brazil
Celso Amorim wouldn't crack a smile at the old canard that Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be. The wily and urbane Brazilian diplomat, finishing off his second term as foreign minister, has done his utmost to make his country an international powerhouse -- right now.
Neither reflexively opposing the United States in the style of Latin America's old left nor slavishly following its lead, Amorim has charted an independent course. He has criticized developed countries as hypocritical and advocated that developing countries take a leading role in combating climate change. This year, he teamed with an unlikely partner, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (No. 7), to cut an eleventh-hour deal designed to dial down the international tension over Iran's nuclear program. Although the initiative succeeded mostly in setting teeth on edge in Western capitals, it also put Brazil on the map.
Under Amorim's guidance, Brazil has enthusiastically embraced the BRIC alliance with Russia, India, and China, which he thinks has the power to "redefine world governance." Brazil aspires to a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council; in the meantime, it has built up its diplomatic corps and boosted its contribution to international peacekeeping missions in places like Haiti. Amorim's tenure under Brazil's larger-than-life retiring president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has proved that it is possible to have, as he recently put it, "a humanist foreign policy, without losing sight of the national interest."
Read more: Celso Amorim talks to FP about Brazil's role as the rest rises.
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