Mozambique’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Carlos Dos Santos?

Sunday, July 03, 2016
Carlos Dos Santos

Carlos Dos Santos presented his credentials as Mozambique’s ambassador to the United States to President Obama on January 28, 2016. It’s the fourth such posting for Dos Santos, a career member of his country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Dos Santos was born in 1961 in Maputo city, the capital of Mozambique. Raised in an agricultural community, he attended a Catholic missionary school and then joined the Foreign Service at age 19. Mozambique ran a sort of an apprenticeship program for recruits to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Dos Santos would work in the ministry for a period, then take a year off for schooling. He spent about five years, beginning in 1984, in Mozambique’s embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe. Dos Santos ended his tour there having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Zimbabwe in politics, administration and international relations.


He returned to Mozambique in 1989, first to head up the Africa and Middle East desk at the MFA, then as chef du cabinet in the ministry, where he helped finalize the peace accords that ended 15 years of civil war in that country. The following year, he was made private secretary to then-President Joaquim Chissano.


Dos Santos took his first ambassadorial post in 1996 as his country’s permanent representative to the United Nations. While there, he was named secretary general of a convention to ban landmines, an issue close to his heart because of the millions of mines planted in Mozambique during the civil war. He also worked to stop small arms proliferation, another vital issue in his country. While in New York, Dos Santos also earned an MBA from Baruch College in the City University of New York.


He returned to Mozambique in 2003 to serve as a senior advisor to Chissano. In 2006, Dos Santos went to Germany as ambassador and also was his country’s representative to the Holy See. He became high commissioner to Great Britain in 2011, as well as ambassador to Ireland, posts he held until coming to Washington.


Dos Santos’s wife, Isabel, was a program officer in Mozambique’s National Demining Institute. The couple have two daughters and a son. He speaks English, Portuguese and his native Ronga.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Peace Dividends (Embassy magazine)

Carlos dos Santos: The Career Diplomat That Nurtured Foreign Affairs in Mozambique (Kreol)


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