This is a very historic moment for my wife and me, for the
people and government of the province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), even for the people
and government of Indonesia. As such, I request that, in the Indonesian tradition, we bow
our heads to pray and to thank God for this blessing, and for allowing us to come together
Let us also pray for our forebears and founding fathers who have shown us the way, who
have given us values by which we live, as well as the spirit to strive to the best of our
abilities for the good of our fellow citizens. In particular we give thanks for the
example of two great Filipino heroes, Jose Rizal and Ramon Magsaysay. May they rest in
peace, a peace well earned through their service to humanity.
News of the Magsaysay Award came to us as unexpectedly as lightningfirst from
friends who listened to the Voice of America and later from others hearing of it on Radio
Australia. We did not believe the news, as we did not feel deserving of any special honor
nor did we expect such recognition for what we have been doing. Frankly, even as I stand
before you this evening, I still feel myself unworthy of this prestigious Award.
Be that as it may, as a participant in these ceremonies, I sincerely wish to thank you for
the honor which, in my opinion, is a recognition and acknowledgment of our national
strategy, our policies, and our programs, particularly towards village people and people
in more remote areas. Perhaps more than anything else, it is a recognition of our on-going
efforts over a period of years, rather than recognition of particular accomplishments.
I say our "efforts," because it is my observation that in fact not much has yet
been achieved either tangible or intangible. There is still a long way to go to reach the
goal of fully realized national freedom.
Leadership in a developing country is not an easy task, and leaders are not in an easy
position. Leadership is a blessing, it is a call, it is a privilege, and it is an honor.
At the same time it is a responsibility and a challenge.
Leaders and leadership must be adequate to meet challenges, and relevant to the
environment. Leadership must be adaptive to specific situationsit must try to adjust
ideas, decisions and efforts to the condition of the people and to their aspirations. It
is not an easy task, particularly in a heterogeneous social situation, with sometimes
overlapping and sometimes conflicting loyalties and ties, both vertically and
Having a background as a doctora rural doctor who has lived close to the people and
is sensitive to their problemscan in itself be a problem. One is sometimes almost
too sensitive to be a leader. Fortunately, I have had a rather unique background, being
not only a doctor, but an officer in the army special forces and a public administrator.
These separate experiences have been very useful to me in my service in NTT.
But dilemmas often arise and cannot be avoided. Leaders must often face misunderstanding,
perhaps cynicism and skepticism. As Edmund. Burke advised long ago:
"Those who carry on great public duties should be proof against fatiguing delays,
mortifying disappointments, shocking insults and, worst of all, misunderstanding from the
In facing the trials of leadership these words give one support and encouragement.
If development is to mean total human developmentindividual as well as
societalthen a plural society like NTT poses a real problem and challenge to
leadership. We believe there is only one approach which can work, the approach of
participative development. Although many would say it runs the risk of being too
idealistic, and will take too long for any single leader to witness the results of his
efforts, nonetheless it is the approach we have tried to apply.
This is the reason I said previously that I have not observed any remarkable results as a
consequence of our efforts during my term as governor. We have taken the long, slow,
I am indeed honored to be the recipient of this prestigious Award, the more so because I
share it with my beloved wife. It is an acknowledgment which makes us more confident that
we are on the right track and that we must continue the long journey of
developmenthuman development, institutional development, national development. We
wish to thank the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation and the Board of Trustees for selecting
w, among perhaps thousands of eligible people, to receive this prestigious Award. We would
also like to thank those who recommended us in the belief that we have achieved something,
and the president and government of Indonesia which granted w permission to receive this
Award and which has also supported us and given us the opportunity to work with the people
of our province.