Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta – The man with a plan
For some strange reason there was something about Ramos-Horta that I needed to know but I didn't know why. That strange feeling prompted me to search for Ramos-Horte's bio on Wikipedia. It was when I read that on 11 February 2008, Ramos-Horta was injured when he was shot during an assassination attempt things started to come into focus.
REPAIRING & BUILDING A NATION
Pardon me but I'm in this. When it came to putting pen to paper or in this case fingers to keyboard the realization came that I had to study my history as suggested to Cambodian college students by filmmaker Oliver Stone and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi who helped discover the HIV/AIDS virus. Good advise that was applicable to me when it came to another speaker coming to Cambodia to address Khmer college students Jose Ramos-Horte the president to Timor Leste. The problem was I didn't know who he was or anything about him.
There was a strange feeling surrounding his appearance is a program presented by the International Peace Foundation Network For The Promotion of Peace titled Bridges Dialogs Towards A Culture of Peace. The first thing that jumped up in my mind was the experience I had when we the members of the press in the press box of the California Angles Anaheim Stadium were issued a memo stating that tomorrow their would be security checks when we arrived at the stadium including having to pass thorough a metal detector. WHY? GOOD QUESTION.
The then owner of the visiting team the Texas Rangers of the United States Major League Baseball (MLB) was owned by millionaire George W. Bush who would be in attendance. As is now known Bush would later become the president of the United States.
It was no problem for those of us who normally arrived at the stadium four to 4 1/2 hours before the game in order to prepare our notes and do interviews with the players.
The Bush visit turned out to be uneventful as we locked eyes while he was sitting in a box not far from the press box. He smiled, I nodded and continued to do my work as in NO WORRIES MATE. But for some reason this incident came to the forefront of my mind when I sent in a reservation for seating at the University of Cambodia and Pannasastra Universities. For some strange reason there was something about Ramos-Horta that I needed to know but I didn't know why.
The strange feeling prompted me to search for Ramos-Horte's bio on Wikipedia. It was when I read that on February 11, 2008, Ramos-Horta was injured when he was shot during an assassination attempt my intuition became clear. There was going to be body guard and security caution at his Cambodia speaking engagements.
Ramos-Horta is a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize and a former Prime Minister, having served from 2006 until his inauguration as President after winning the 2007 East Timorese presidential election. Before his appointment as Prime Minister, Ramos-Horta was considered a possible candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as United Nations Secretary-General. He dropped out of the race in order to serve as East Timor's Prime Minister, but he has indicated that he might run for the UN position at some time in the future: "I can wait five years if I am really interested in the job in 2012. I would be interested in that."
That information prompted SAY WHAT thoughts in my mind as I didn't know where Timor-East was and why this man was regarded so highly? I would soon find out.
When Ramos-Horta appeared at the University of Cambodia April 21st his bodyguards were in force. It appeared that the audience was in for a tense speaking engagement.
The 60-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner started his speech by saying that he felt the same as US President Barack Obama that he didn't feel he was deserving of being honored with the Nobel Peace Award. What we feared would be a long boring security laden event turned into a surprise as Ramos-Horta rambled off a lot of information about his country’s history and struggles for peace and efforts to be a member of the ASEAN.
Early in his career Ramos-Horta spent five years in journalism in print TV and radio media. During his speech that background paid off as he changed the pace with information sprinkled with humor on one occasion saying that he wanted to be like Fidel Castro and be the leader of his country for life. The audience laughed and he added that he was just joking. In the process he displayed his skill of storytelling much like a pervious speaker filmmaker Oliver Stone. Both related real life stories they experienced and both took a bullet as a result of their involvement in their causes.
Ramos-Horta's dialog was filled with knowledge about the Asian region and its future potential in being a major force in the world. He pointed out that Asia has half of the worlds population. He noted how China made some great decisions one being the one child per family policy they implemented 30 years ago. He noted that if they didn't apply it their population would now exceed three billion and burden their problem with overcoming poverty.
After surviving civil conflict for so many years he is proud that his country is on the way to recovery without being a recipient of donor money. He did admit that Timor-Este does receive $200 million a year in development funding. The man with plan pointed out the a large part of their success is derived from their oil and gas reserves while noting that Asia has the largest oil reserves in the world and can be utilized in Asian nations development.