At times humorous and other times defiant, José Ramos-Horta describes nurturing the 21st century’s first sovereign state through its formative years. The journey of East Timor from brutal Indonesian rule to fragile self-governance has involved Ramos-Horta in conflict and debate from the halls of the U.N. to the smallest villages of this tiny Southeast Asian island.
Today, when Ramos-Horta travels in the countryside, people don’t want to discuss security and unity. Recounts Ramos-Horta, “They joke with me: ‘Mr. President, we really like your road to peace, but we prefer a road to our village.’” He’s now focused on providing his people with such essentials as clean water and electricity, and shoring up the nation’s fragile social and economic institutions. “Let’s put all the past behind us. Look after the victims, the wounded, in their minds, bodies and souls, build a country that is deserving of so much sacrifice. Chasing the ghosts of the past leads us nowhere,” says Ramos-Horta.
Challenges in Nation Building with José Ramos-Horta | September 29, 2009 | Running Time: 1:23:08
From: MIT World, a free and open site that provides on demand video of significant public events at MIT.