Dr. José Ramos-Horta, president of the Timor Foundation, dedicated most of his life to empower his people to gain independence and to create the Democratic Republic of Timor -Leste.
In his view, the Timor Foundation is a further step to enable the Timorese to built their country. He considers education as the key for the improvement of life, a life in dignity. Therefore he and the Timor Foundation will focus their efforts on education and health as a prerequisite.
Ramos-Horta was born on 26 December, 1949, in Dili, Timor-Leste. His mother is now 87 years old and father passed away in 1970. He had 11 brothers and sisters, three of whom were killed during the Indonesian occupation. He was educated in a Roman Catholic mission. He is divorced and has one son.
Ramos-Horta began his career as journalist in 1969 in Timor-Leste. He was a co-founder of FRETILIN, the Revolutionary Front for the Independence of Timor-Leste.
On 28 November 1975, after more than 400 years of Portuguese occupation, FRETILIN proclaimed independence and established the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Ramos-Horta was appointed FRETILIN’s Minister for External Affairs and Information. He was asked to go overseas to gain international support for the new country.
On 4 December 1975 José Ramos-Horta left Timor-Leste for New York. Three days later, Indonesia invaded and occupied the island. He addressed the United Nations Security Council leading to the adoption of unanimous resolution demanding the withdrawal of Indonesian forces from Timor-Leste.
From 1975 to 1999 Ramos-Horta was the permanent representative of FRETILIN at the United Nations. He traveled extensively lobbying governments and creating networks of supporters around the world.
In December 1996 José Ramos-Horta and Bishop Carlos Belo were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in Timor-Leste”.
In December 1999 Ramos-Horta returned to his homeland for the first time in 24years. Thousands of Timorese crowded the airport and the seaside promenade of Dili and gave him a hero's welcome.
Ramos-Horta was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in 2002.
On 10 July 2006 he was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste following the resignation of then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.
In 2007 he was elected President by a margin of 70%. On 20 May 2007 he was sworn in as the second President of Timor-Leste.
On 11 February 2008 Ramos-Horta was injured and survived an assassination attempt by a group of rebel soldiers.
Following a coup d'Etat in Guinea-Bissau coup d'état, Ramos-Horta was asked by the UN Secretary-General to offered to mediate the conflict. From January 2013 to July 2014 he served as the UNSG Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau; his mission won praise from every quarter.
In 2014-2015 he chaired the High Level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations and again he won universal praise.
His native languages are Tetum and Portuguese. He is proficient in English, French and Spanish.For further information, please visit Dr. José Manuel Ramos-Horta's personal website.