Ms Dobrowolski said she was moved by the plight of the people in Timor-Leste and wanted to paint Mr Guterres’s portrait as a personal gift.
‘Abel personifies the Timor-Leste spirit of friendship, looking forward rather than dwelling on the agonies and hardships of the past, very much in the spirit of (Nelson) Mandela,’ Ms Dobrowolski said.
‘Mr Guterres was one of a few bright, promising young men who elders ensured left Timor-Leste as the Portuguese left and Indonesia invaded.
‘The idea was that these young people, including Jose Ramos-Horta, would work in other countries and the UN advocating for peace, freedom and the independence of Timor-Leste.
‘It was a successful strategy.’
Rotary sponsored his attendance at Oxford University and funded construction of the Timor-Leste Embassy in Canberra.
Mr Guterres said he was thrilled and honoured to receive the portrait.
‘It was a wonderful gesture by Leonie and I am going to have it on display in my Canberra office,’ he said.