Constancio da Conceição Pinto became ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor) to the United States on October 23, 2009.
He was the first senior diplomat ever posted in Washington, D.C., in 2002, soon after the United Nations officially transferred authority to the Timorese.
In June 2008, Mr. Pinto returned to Timor-Leste and became the National Director for External Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He has dedicated his life and energy to the freedom and self-determination of Timor-Leste (East Timor). In 1990 Mr. Pinto was elected Secretary of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Maubere Resistance (CNRM) in the clandestine movement. The CNRM was the umbrella movement of East Timorese resistance fighting for Independence. In 1991, he was arrested by the Indonesian army where he was jailed and tortured. He managed to escape that same year, and while hidden, helped organized the 12 November 1991 peaceful protest. That event is now known as the Santa Cruz massacre where more than 200 students were gun down in cold blood by the Indonesian military.
In 1992 Mr. Pinto to Portugal and eventually to the United States. While in the United States he tirelessly campaigned throughout the country, raising awareness about his country and getting support for his struggle. He has testified before the US Congress, the United Nations Committee on Decolonization, and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. Mr. Pinto was also a member of the delegation for Intra-Timorese Dialogue held in Austria facilitated by the United Nations.
Mr. Pinto co-authored " East Timor’s Unfinished Struggle: Inside the Timorese Resistance" (1996); and wrote a chapter for the book Bitter Paradise (2000). His articles on East Timorese struggle have appeared in the LA Times, Washington Post, Providence Journal and Philadelphia Inquirer. He also had many interviews with radios and TV channels including the CNN and the News Hour program with Jim Lehrer. In 1997, Mr. Pinto received the US Congressional Achievement Award in recognition of being a courageous champion for social, political, and economic justice in East Timor.
Mr. Pinto has an MA in International Relation from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and a BA in Development Studies from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He speaks fluently Tetun, Portuguese, Bahasa and English. He is married to Gabriela Pinto and has two children, Tilson and Tima.
Embassy of Timor-Leste
3415 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20007
Last Edited on April 2, 2011