Peace-Building and State-Building: from Fragility to Resilience |

Peace-Building and State-Building: from Fragility to Resilience


The people of Timor-Leste have had a difficult struggle for self-determination and freedom. Today, as the youngest nation in the Asia-Pacific, Timor-Leste is approaching state-building, peace-building and development by taking into account local circumstances, history and culture.

While the world has made remarkable progress - particularly in Asia - in improving the lives of millions, there are still some 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty.

As the international community comes together to search for a replacement for the Millennium Development Goals framework, it is important to note that many of the world’s poorest people live in countries that suffer from cycles of conflict. In these countries, it is a major challenge to eradicate poverty and secure human progress without successful peace-building and state-building.

While there is no one successful formula for progress, Timor-Leste shares similar challenges with many of the world’s Least Developed Countries. This lecture by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão will focus on Timor-Leste’s experience and offer some guidance on securing peace and embracing development.

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H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Security, Timor-Leste

Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão is the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security of Timor-Leste. In 2012, he was elected for a second five-year term. Before first becoming Prime Minister in 2007, Xanana Gusmão was elected as the first President of the Republic since the Restoration of Independence in 2002.

During the 24 year occupation of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão led the resistance struggle for self-determination and the liberation of his people. In 1981, he was elected leader of the Resistance and Commander-in-Chief of the FALINTIL (National Liberation Armed Forces of Timor-Leste). A year after the Santa Cruz massacre, Xanana Gusmão, after 17 years of guerrilla warfare, was captured on November 20, 1992 in the capital Díli. He faced a trial lacking natural justice and was sentenced for 20 years. In his Jakarta prison, Xanana Gusmão continued to lead the Resistance, while studying Bahasa Indonesia, English and law. He also painted and wrote poetry.

On 30 August 1999, the Timorese people voted in an UN-sponsored referendum and overwhelmingly rejected the autonomy proposal put forth by Indonesia, signalling the end of the Indonesian occupation and the beginning of a UN transitional process. Xanana Gusmão was released on 7 September 1999.

Xanana Gusmão has been awarded many peace and human rights prizes including the UNESCO Peace Prize and the European Parliament Sakharov Human Rights Prize. He has also been awarded an Honorary Knighthood of the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael & St. George by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Tuesday, 04 June 2013
5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Auditorium, Level 3, Block B,
Faculty of Law, NUS Bukit Timah Campus,
469G Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 259776

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