Few modern leaders know as much about nation-building -- and even fewer have paid such a high personal price in the process -- as East Timor's president, Jose Ramos-Horta.
Horta will speak at a free public lecture on Tuesday afternoon at MIT about the challenges of nation-building. The talk is being hosted by MIT's Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship in advance of its second annual conference on Friday. The talk is being held at Building 10, Room 250 at 2:30 p.m., with seating to start at 2:15 p.m.
Ramos-Horta agitated as a student for East Timor's independence from Portugal, the colonial power. Just days before Indonesia invaded East Timor and annexed it in 1975, he went into exile as a 25-year-old cabinet minister for East Timor to argue its case at the United Nations Security Council. For years he pleaded East Timor's cause, and in 1996 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, along with Bishop Ximenes Belo.
After East Timor finally won independence from Indonesia in 2002 following decades of bloodshed and negotiations Ramos-Horta served as foreign minister in the newly elected government as foreign minister, which continued to weather unrest. He was elected president in April 2007, and was badly wounded in an assassination attempt in February 2008.
At the age of 59, Ramos-Horta will carry a lifetime of democratic activism to the MIT forum, even as his country continues its struggle for political stability and economic development from the ranks of the poorest nations in Asia.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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