In exile from his country for 24 years, Dr. Ramos Horta was the international spokesman for human rights and the self-determination of his homeland. From 1975 to 1985 he was the Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the Timorese independence movement. In 1996, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, with Bishop Carlos Belo, the religious leader of East Timor. A portion of the funds received from the Nobel prize were used to establish the José Ramos-Horta Microcredit Fund for the poor, which is in full operation today, with a payback rate of 97%. Today he acts as Minister of Foreign Affairs under the interim United Nations Administration, and continues in his role as the international voice of East Timor. In addition, Dr. Ramos-Horta serves as the co-Chairman of the Fund for East Timor (www.fundforeasttimor.org).