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Jose Ramos-Horta
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World Leader
    (December 26, 1949- )
    Born in Dili, East Timor
    Human rights attorney
    Founding member of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN)
    Exiled spokesperson for East Timorese independence during Timor's occupation by Indonesia (1974-99)
    Foreign Minister (2002-06), Prime Minister (2006-07) and President (2007- ) of East Timor
    Co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (1996)
    He is divorced.
    Despite East Timor's widespread poverty and corruption and the need for UN peackeepers to prevent civil war, he suggested to an interviewer that the US is closer to being a 'failed state' than his country.
    Rebels attacked his home while he was out jogging. He ignored a phone call from his niece warning him about the attack, returned home and was shot (February 11, 2008).
    Three of his siblings were killed by the Indonesian army during its occupation of East Timor.
    At age 25, he was the youngest person to address the UN Security Council, convincing the UN to condemn the invasion of East Timor (1975).
    When he was greeted by over 100,000 people on his return to East Timor, he told them, 'I'm embarrassed - you receive me as a national hero when YOU are the ones who are real heroes, because you were here. You suffered, you endured the isolation, torture. You never gave up.'
    He used his Nobel Peace Prize money to establish a microcredit program to lend money to poor people in East Timor.
    Before the assassination attempt, he was known for getting up close and personal with the Timorese people, such as riding the bus and then buying the passengers a meal at a sidewalk cafe.

Credit: C. Fishel

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