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Challenges in the Protection of the Rights of Refugees and Migrants
HE José Ramos-Horta, Former President of East Timor; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Date : 7 Sep 2018 (Friday)
Time : 10:30 am - 12:00 noon
Venue : IAS Lecture Theater, Lo Ka Chung Building, Lee Shau Kee Campus, HKUST
Co-organizer: Bright Hong Kong
Co-sponsors: School of Humanities and Social Science, Interdisciplinary Programs Office & Institute for Public Policy, HKUST
Video & Photos Details


We are living witnesses of a massive dislocation of peoples without precedent in modern history. The millions of unwanted and unwelcome, Les Damnés de la Terre (Frantz Fanon), barely surviving on the periphery, at the edges and shadows of the affluent and ostentatious minority of humanity, are inching themselves into the midst of the wealthy few, changing the demographics of the countries of the rich North. The old Europe that colonized much of the world emerged from WWII destroyed and quickly rebuilt, prospered and reconciled, has done much for the rest of the world, being the single largest provider of development assistance to countries of the poorer South.

It is undergoing tectonic changes, with extremist right wing ideologies reminiscent of the 1930's, inciting divisions on ethnic, skin color and religious basis, causing a spiral of racially motivated violence in many European cities. Some leaders of the richest and most powerful country on Earth have forgotten their own history, of extreme poverty and religious wars; instead of showing moral leadership in these challenging times they instigate intolerance, racism and violence.


About the speaker

HE José Ramos-Horta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1996 jointly with Mr Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo for their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor, a former Portuguese possession that was under Indonesian control from 1975 to 1999. HE Ramos-Horta served as the Prime Minister of East Timor from 2006 to 2007 and as the President from 2007 to 2012. He has also served as the External Advisor to the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) since 2017.

HE Ramos-Horta studied law in the United States before he returned to East Timor (which was under Portuguese rule) to participate in the independence movement. He was forced to flee to Mozambique from 1970 to 1972. Upon his return, he sided with the pro-independence Fretilin faction in the East Timor civil war. The Fretilin gained control of the government on 28 Nov 1975, and declared East Timor’s independence. HE Ramos-Horta was then named Foreign Minister. However, nine days later Indonesia invaded East Timor, and HE Ramos-Horta was again forced into exile. Eventually settling in Sydney, Australia, HE Ramos-Horta joined the faculty of the University of New South Wales and became one of the primary voices for East Timor in the international arena, as East Timor’s de facto ambassador to the United Nations. He spoke out against human rights violations by the occupying Indonesian military forces and promoted a peace plan to end the violence in his country. In 1996, he received the Nobel Peace Prize and gave the award and prize money to a program called Microcredit for the Poor. He returned home in 1999 after the UN Security Council established the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor.

HE Ramos-Horta continued to urge forgiveness and reconciliation and was appointed East Timor’s Foreign Minister in 2000. He continued to serve in that office after East Timor achieved full sovereignty in 2002. In 2006, fighting erupted in the country after Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri fired hundreds of soldiers who had gone on strike to protest against discrimination. Criticized for his handling of the crisis, Alkatiri resigned and was replaced by HE Ramos-Horta, who took office in Jul 2006. In May 2007, HE Ramos-Horta was elected President, garnering nearly 70 percent of the votes. The following year he was seriously injured after being shot by rebels outside his home in Dili, East Timor. He recovered, and served out the rest of his term.

For attendees’ attention


  The lecture is free and open to all. Registration has been closed due to overwhelming response. Interested parties are welcome to join the simultaneous broadcast at a nearby seminar room in the IAS building.

HKUST undergraduate students may attain 1.5 hours for the HLTH1010 Healthy Lifestyle Course after attending the event.
  Light refreshments will be served from 10:00 to 10:30 am.



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Enquiries: ias@ust.hk / 2358 5912