2 January 2013

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste


Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).

The new Special Representative succeeds Joseph Mutaboba of Rwanda, who will complete his assignment on 31 January 2013, and to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his leadership of UNIOGBIS over the past four years, often under difficult political and security conditions, for his tireless efforts to ensure international attention to the challenges of Guinea-Bissau, and for working on practical solutions to address them.

Mr. Ramos-Horta brings with him more than three decades of diplomatic and political activity in the service of peace and stability in Timor-Leste and beyond.  Working closely with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, he helped bring about peaceful elections for the country’s Parliament and President in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

As President of Timor-Leste, most recently from 2007 to 2012, Mr. Ramos-Horta contributed to healing the wounds and stabilizing the situation in the country following the crisis in 2006.  He also served as Foreign Minister from 2001 to 2006 and as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007.  Earlier, between 1969 and 1974, he worked as a print, radio and television journalist in Timor-Leste.

Mr. Ramos-Horta holds a masters degree in peace studies from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio (1984), and is working on a PhD at the Universidade do Minho in Braga, Portugal.  The author of several books and other writings, he is fluent in five languages.

Born in 1949, he has one son.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record