Lisbon, April 24, 2024


On April 24th, a prestigious honors ceremony took place at the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste in the Belém district of Lisbon, Portugal. The momentous event was presided over by His Excellency President José Ramos-Horta himself, celebrating the influential roles of six distinguished honorees in supporting Timor-Leste’s development and sovereignty.

The Medals of Honor
The “Order of Timor-Leste” and “Medal of Merit” were conferred upon the remarkable recipients, recognizing their exceptional dedication and service to the Timorese nation:

  • Timor-Leste’s Ambassador to Geneva, Maria de Lurdes Martins de Sousa Bessa
  • Portuguese Ambassador to Geneva, Rui Filipe Monteiro Belo Macieira

Both ambassadors received the prestigious Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste for their pivotal work in securing Timor-Leste’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).


Presidential Tributes
In an address honoring the distinguished guests, President Ramos-Horta paid tribute to each recipient’s significant contributions:

  • Ambassador Bessa: Commended for her relentless efforts representing Timor-Leste’s interests at the United Nations in Geneva.
  • Ambassador Macieira: Lauded for his leadership as Chair of the WTO Working Party, skillfully guiding the complex accession negotiations.
  • Moisés Maia de Deus: The famous Timorese artist and his renowned song “Por Ti Timor” mobilized invaluable support for Timor-Leste’s self-determination struggle.
  • Nuno Antunes: The international law professor provided vital counsel to the government during the maritime boundary discussions with Australia.


Enduring Gratitude
The honors ceremony represented a powerful declaration of Timor-Leste’s profound gratitude toward those who champion the nation’s progress. As President Ramos-Horta underscored, recognizing such impactful service reinforces the government’s commitment to a prosperous, sovereign future for the young nation and its people.

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