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José Ramos-Horta

José Ramos-Horta Portrait.jpg
President of East Timor
In office
20 May 2007 – 20 May 2012
Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva
Xanana Gusmão
Preceded by Xanana Gusmão
Succeeded by Taur Matan Ruak
Prime Minister of East Timor
In office
26 June 2006 – 19 May 2007
President Xanana Gusmão
Preceded by Mari Alkatiri
Succeeded by Estanislau da Silva
Personal details
José Manuel Ramos-Horta

26 December 1949 (1949-12-26) (age 70)
Dili, Portuguese Timor
(now East Timor)
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Ana Pessoa Pinto (Divorced)
Children Loro Ramos-Horta
Alma mater Hague Academy of International Law
Antioch College
International Institute of Human Rights
Columbia University

José Manuel Ramos-Horta (born 26 December 1949) is an East Timorese politician who was the President of East Timor from 20 May 2007 to 20 May 2012. Previously he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2006 and Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007. He is a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize.

As a founder and former member of Fretilin, Ramos-Horta served as the exiled spokesman for the East Timorese resistance during the years of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor (1975–1999). He resigned from the party in 1988, becoming an independent politician.

After East Timor achieved independence in 2002, Ramos-Horta was appointed as the country's first foreign minister. He served in this position until his resignation on 25 June 2006. On 26 June, following the resignation of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, Ramos-Horta was appointed as acting Prime Minister by President Xanana Gusmão. Two weeks later, on 10 July 2006, he was sworn in as the second Prime Minister of East Timor. He was elected as President in 2007.

On 11 February 2008, Ramos-Horta was shot during an assassination attempt.

After leaving office as President in 2012, Ramos-Horta was appointed as the United Nations' Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) on 2 January 2013.

Early history and family

José Ramos-Horta 1976
José Ramos-Horta 1976

Ramos-Horta was born in Dili, capital of East Timor. He was educated in a Catholic mission in the small village of Soibada. Of his eleven brothers and sisters, four were killed by the Indonesian military.

Ramos-Horta studied Public International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law (1983) and at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio where he completed a Master of Arts degree in Peace Studies (1984). He was trained in Human Rights Law at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg (1983). He completed Post-Graduate courses in American foreign policy at Columbia University in New York (1983).

He is a Senior Associate Member of the University of Oxford's St Antony's College (1987) and speaks fluently in five languages: Portuguese, plus English, French, Spanish and the most commonly spoken East Timorese language, Tetum.

He is divorced from Ana Pessoa Pinto, East Timor's Minister for State and Internal Administration, with whom he has a son, Loro Horta, born in exile in Mozambique.

Awards and honors

The Roman Catholic priest Carlos Belo of East Timor and Ramos-Horta were jointly awarded the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.

  • Conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Political Science by the University of Cambodia (2010)
  • PRT Order of Liberty - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand-Cross of the Order of Liberty, Portugal (June 9, 1998)
  • PRT Order of Prince Henry - Grand Collar BAR.png Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry, Portugal (November 13, 2007)
  • OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia (November 25, 2013), for eminent service to strengthening Australia and Timor-Leste bilateral relations and for his outstanding leadership to bring independence to Timor-Leste.

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