Timor Leste president to hold peace lecture in Davao

www.gmanews.tv, 24 December 2008

MANILA, Philippines - Timor-Leste president and 1996 Nobel Peace Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta will visit Ateneo de Davao University in January 2009 for a lecture-visit on peace.

An article on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines website said the lecture visit is scheduled at 2 p.m. Jan. 14.

"(It) is open to the general public and is part of a program to bring Nobel Laureates to the Philippines, coordinated by Bridges: Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace and International Peace Foundation based in Bangkok, Thailand," the CBCP said.

Ramos-Horta, also a patron of the International Peace Foundation was born in Dili, East Timor.

He was educated in a Catholic Mission in Soibada village. Of his 11 siblings, four were allegedly killed during the struggle between Fretilin and Indonesian military.

The East Timor leader was appointed Foreign Minister in the "Democratic Republic of East Timor" government proclaimed by the pro-independence parties in November 1975, at age 25.

During the 24 years of the occupation of East Timor he was the international voice of the Timorese people.

In exile from his country from 1975 to 1999, he was the Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the Timorese independence movement.

The youngest UN diplomat in history and an international human rights figure, he is one of the three central figures in the country's struggle for independence.

In 1996 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Bishop Carlos Belo, the religious leader of East Timor, "to honor their sustained and self-sacrificing contributions for a small but oppressed people."

A portion of the funds received from the Nobel Prize were used to establish the José Ramos-Horta Microcredit Fund for the Poor, which is in full operation today, with a payback rate of 97%.

Horta was also considered a possible candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as United Nations Secretary-General but he dropped out of the race to serve as East Timor's Prime Minister.

In May 2007 Ramos-Horta was elected President of Timor-Leste.

Ramos-Horta studied Public International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law and at Antioch University where he completed a Master of Arts degree in Peace Studies.

He was trained in Human Rights Law at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg and attended Post-Graduate courses in American Foreign Policy at Columbia University in New York.

He is a Senior Associate Member of the University of Oxford's St. Anthony's College and continues in his role as the international voice of East Timor. - GMANews.TV