In 2010, a senior Timorese political figure remarked in private conversation that Timor-Leste had never been better. This particular political figure was commenting on the general state of Timor-Leste since his return in 1999, after a forced 25 year absence from the country.
What is remarkable is not the political figure’s comment at that time, but that this same person now publically decries Timor-Leste’s lack of development. That is, I suppose, how politics is played.
This negative appraisal does come around a time when there has been much public negativity about Timor-Leste’s development process. Much of this negative comment is either anecdotal or reflects a snap-shot of Timor-Leste now, without reference to where it has come from.
Presentation to the Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre for Excellence, 8 November 2011.
The postgraduate International and Community Development course has existed for over 20 years at Deakin University. It is Australia’s largest and oldest course of its kind with hundreds of students studying in countries around the world. Our past and present students work in international aid agencies, local councils, state and federal governments, community-based organisations, and UN bodies. All of them dedicating their working lives to bringing about ‘development’.