Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1995-1996 index

Distributed March 1, 1996
Contact: Tracie Sweeney
Recipients of Portugal's highest civilian honor

Portugal invites Gregorian, Targan
to inauguration of new president

President Vartan Gregorian and Associate Dean of the College David Targan, each a recipient of Portugal's highest civilian honor, have been invited by the Portuguese government to attend the inauguration of Portugal's next president on March 9.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University President Vartan Gregorian and David Targan, associate dean of the College, will be attending the inauguration of Portugal's next president, Dr. Jorge Sampaio, in Lisbon on March 9.

Gregorian and Targan were invited by Sampaio and current President Mario Soares. Both Soares and President-elect Sampaio are highly involved in human rights issues surrounding the island of East Timor, formerly a Portuguese colony. Indonesian military forces have occupied East Timor since 1975, and, according to Targan, have since executed more than 200,000 civilians - roughly one third of the island's population.

Human rights and East Timor also have been of concern to Gregorian and Targan. Their work with Brown on behalf of East Timor has earned each of them Portugal's highest civilian honor, the Comenda da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique, awarded to people who have exhibited extraordinary service or merit in defense of Portuguese culture. They received their awards - Targan in 1992 and Gregorian in 1995 - from Soares. Gregorian was cited by Soares for his contributions in supporting Portuguese and Brazilian studies in the United States, his work in strengthening cultural relations between the United States and Portugal, and his service to human rights worldwide, including the East Timorese. Targan was honored for his "leadership in making Brown University the defender ... [of] the freedom of human rights in East Timor."