José Manuel Barroso was born in Lisbon on 23 March 1956. After graduating in law from the University of Lisbon, he moved to Geneva where he completed a Diploma in European Studies at the European University Institute, University of Geneva and a Masters's degree in Political Science from the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Geneva, earning an honours in both. He embarked on an academic career, workiong successively as a teaching assistant at the Law Faculty of the University of Lisbon, in the Department of Political Science, University of Geneva and as a visiting professor at the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (Washington D.C.).
In 1995, he became Head of the International Relations Department of Lusíada University, Lisbon. In 1979, he founded the University Association for European Studies. His political career began in1980 when he joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD). He was named Preseidnet of the party in 1999 and re-elected three times. During the same period, he served as Vice President of the European People's Party. In April 2002, he was elected Prime Minister of Portugal. He remained in office until July 2004 when he became President-designate of the European Commision.
José Manuel Barroso was awarded honorary degrees by Roger Williams University, Rhode Island (2005), Georgetown University, Washinton D.C. (2006), University of Genoa, Italy (2006), University of Kobe (2006) and Sapienza University of Rome (2007). He was also declared "European of the year 2006" by the magazine European Voice. He is the author of numerous publications on political science, international relations and the European Union, including "Le système politique portuguais face à l'intégration européenne", Lisbon and Lausanne, 1983; "Uma Certa Ideia de Europa", 1999; "Mudar de Modelo", 2002 and "Reformar: Dois Anos de Governo", 2004.