In 2006, Marcos Pontes became the first South American astronaut to go into space. Coming from poor living conditions in the suburbs of Sao Paulo, he reached his dreams through basic education and professional skills training which enabled him to commence subsequent studies in aeronautical technology and engineering.
On his appointment as a UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador in November 2011, Pontes expressed his appreciation for UNIDO, saying: “Looking from space, Earth is a unique and beautiful planet. We have seven billion people trying to live with some quality on this wonderful blue home. But that will not be possible if we try it selfishly. We need to get together and prepare the new generation to be citizens of one world. UNIDO can help in this challenge, and I am honoured to accept the nomination to cooperate as UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador for a better future on Earth.”
He was appointed Brazil’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in January 2019. He was reappointed as a UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador in June 2019.