Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo Addresses Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Mail - Saturday, February 05, 2005

Payap University was honored when Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, who, together with Jose Ramos-Horta, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor, gave an inspiring talk on his hopes for a better world.

His address was preceded by the President of Payap University Boonthong Poocharoen and Uwe Morawetz, the Chairman of the International Peace Foundation, who gave a brief history on the University, the challenges of today’s world and welcomed Monsignor Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo.

Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo gave a thought-provoking speech, leaving no doubt that with willpower, drive and belief the world ‘could be changed’. However, even with ‘faith’ it was difficult for him not to become depressed when almost a third of the population in East Timor was killed and the media took no notice, when Belo, together with Jose Ramos-Horta wrote letters to the United Nations which were unanswered.

When the Timor population voted for democracy and independence in 1999, Indonesia militia groups marched in, burning down whole villages, raping, torturing and murdering. And again all this went almost unnoticed by the outside world.

Today the East Timorese people are still troubled by these memories and the world forgiveness is not easy to apply. Every family has lost loved ones, fathers, brothers, sons, daughters and while the people are willing to forgive, on the other side, they hope for justice.

Currently he is campaigning around the world to teach understanding to students and world leaders, the need of universal education for peace which should in today’s globalization be part of every curriculum so the leaders of tomorrow could help solve conflicts rather than creating new one.