‘An immensely readable and insightful glimpse into the experiences, concerns and aspirations of Timor-Leste’s youth, charting their course from student activists to nation builders, from the fight for national liberation to the battle for participation in governance structures and aid and development programs. I strongly recommend this book to anyone wanting a snapshot of the principal challenges facing Timor-Leste today in its quest to build a strong, stable and equitable nation … for all citizens, young and old’ Kirsty Sword Gusmão, Chair, Alola Foundation and Goodwill Ambassador for Education of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste’s independence was forged at a time international developmental theory had rejected top down approaches and recognised the importance of participatory approaches informing developmental strategies. When the arrival of the United Nations and a multitude of bilateral and multilateral and non-government organisations arrived in Timor-Leste in 1999 it was hoped that the international intervention would at last produce a development success story.
Independence also brought the realisation that dreams for an independent Timor-Leste varied, often according to their generation. Three generations of Timorese: the political elite, a younger generation of independence activists (gerasaun foun) and today’s youth of independent Timor-Leste, each bring their own experiences and face different challenges in Timor-Leste. Today stark contrasts between the values of customary life and those of the modernising world place both community leaders and young Timorese at a crossroads. The experiences of the Timorese are unique, but this book reflects a broader analysis about how aid influenced processes of development can work in greater harmony with the people to realise their own visions of the future of the nation.
Dr Ann Wigglesworth has twenty-five years’ experience in international development, working in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Latin America, including seven years living in the north of Mozambique. Between 1997 and 2000 she worked for Caritas Australia as Program Manager for East Timor. She has a PhD from Victoria University and works as a consultant in social development. She is currently a Honorary Fellow at Victoria University.