Mr. José Eduardo dos Santos was born on August 28, 1942 in Angola's capital of Luanda. His political career began at an early age when he founded the youth organisation within the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) in 1961 to help further Angola's struggle for independence.
He was awarded a scholarship in 1963 to study in the Soviet Union where he received a degree in petroleum engineering. Upon graduation in 1969, he stayed in the Soviet Union to continue his studies in Communications.
In 1974, Mr. José Eduardo DOS Santos was named Co-ordinator of the Foreign Affairs Department of the MPLA. He subsequently developed diplomatic activities in various African capitals to gain international support for MPLA efforts.
Following Angolan independence on November 11, 1975, he was named Minister of Foreign Affairs.
He continued to remain active in the MPLA party and contributed to the development of education, culture and reconstruction which led to his appointment as Minister of Planning in 1978.
Mr. José Eduardo DOS Santos became President of the Popular Republic of Angola after the death of Agostinho Neto in 1979.
President DOS Santos actively pursued national and international efforts to bring about peace in Angola. His involvement resulted in the successful withdrawal of South African forces from Angola, the repatriation of Cuban forces and the independence of Namibia. President DOS Santos led Angola in a national transition towards democracy that included both political pluralism and the establishment of a market Economy.
President DOS Santos signed the Bicesse Accords in 1991 which allowed for the country's first democratic elections in 1992. The President and his party won the election and the results were accredited by UN and international observers; however, UNITA contested the election results and the country returned to war.
President DOS Santos led the search for a negotiated settlement to end the fighting and destruction in Angola. Finally, through his political determination and with the combined mediation efforts of the United Nations, US, Russia and Portugal,the Angolan Government and UNITA signed the Lusaka Protocol in November 1994.
In 1995, the President has held three meetings with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in an effort to accelerate the peace process and restore trust and confidence among all Angolans. President DOS Santos has also taken the lead in planning for the rebuilding of Angola.
In September of 1995, he headed the Angolan delegation to an international Donor's Roundtable in Brussels to urge support for the national reconstruction program.
The nearly $1 billion pledged by the international community reflects a level of confidence in the country and its leadership that is gratifying to a nation emerging from three decades of conflict.
President José Eduardo Dos Santos is married to First Lady Ana Paula Dos Santos. Together they have three children.