Washington, D.C. — Refugees International (RI) announced today that José Ramos-Horta, the former President of Timor-Leste and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is this year’s recipient of the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment to humanitarian action, and will be presented by HM Queen Noor of Jordan.
“I am truly honored to receive this award from Refugees International,” said Mr. Ramos-Horta. “Half of all Timorese citizens have fled their homes at some point in their lives, so my country knows well the horrors of displacement. But we also know that with perseverance, it is possible to rebuild lives and communities. For more than 30 years, RI has fought for the rights of the displaced and forged durable solutions around the world, and I am proud to accept their highest honor.”
José Ramos-Horta has had a distinguished career as an activist and public servant. In 1974, he founded the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor, and then served as Foreign Minister-in-exile during the Indonesian occupation and the negotiations that led to Timorese independence in 2002. In that same year Mr. Ramos-Horta became the first Foreign Minister of independent Timor-Leste. In 2006 he was appointed caretaker Prime Minister. In 2007 he was elected the country’s second President. After completing his five year term as President in 2012 Mr. Ramos-Horta was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, along with Bishop Ximenes Belo, for his work toward “a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor.”
“José Ramos-Horta is one of the most widely-respected leaders in the world today,” said Michel Gabaudan, President of Refugees International. “He is a peacemaker in the truest sense of the word, and someone who is deeply committed to human rights. Under his leadership, tens of thousands of displaced Timorese returned to their homes. And while much remains to be done, Mr. Ramos-Horta’s leadership put Timor-Leste on the path to increased stability, security, and democratic rule. We are delighted to be honoring him this year.”
Mr. Ramos-Horta will be presented with the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award at Refugees International’s 34th Anniversary Dinner. The dinner will be held on Thursday, May 2nd, at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. For more information about the event, please click here.