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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

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updated: 22 July 2006

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July 27 2006: Crisis in Timor Leste (SSGM)
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SSGM Seminar: Crisis in Timor Leste: looking beyond the surfacereality for causes and solutions - Richard Curtain

State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Project

Richard Curtain

Adviser on National Youth Policy, UNICEF Timor Leste
September 2005-April 2006

Crisis in Timor Leste: looking beyond the surface reality for causes and solutions

Date:  Thursday 27 July 2006
Time:  11:00am ­ 12.30pm
Venue:  Seminar Room C, Coombs Building, ANU

What caused the current upheaval in East Timor?  The World Bank’s President, Paul Wolfowitz, who visited the country in early April, 2006, hailed it as a model of post conflict recovery.  However, the World Bank did state in July 2005 in a major assessment of the state of country that: “Despite considerable progress, the current stability in Timor-Leste is fragile, and the country remains vulnerable to conflict”.

A mere recounting of the recent events offers us little insight into its underlying causes.  Nor does attributing the breakdown of civil order to a single factor such as the early departure of International Peacekeepers. The factors involved in causing the social breakdown are discussed through the prism of an analytical framework, used widely to explain the emergence of collective outbursts such as mob violence.

Key questions addressed in the paper include: was the model of development pursued by the Government, with the strong support of the World Bank, appropriate for a post conflict economy and society?

Richard Curtain has been a public policy consultant since 1993.  He has specialised in youth labour markets and skill formation policy in Australia and on youth policy issues internationally.  He was part of team that evaluated for AusAID emergency job creation programs in Indonesia in 1998.  Since 2000, he has completed assignments for a number of UN agencies, including the ILO, UNICEF, UNFPA and UN DESA on youth-related issues as well as for AusAID on the uses of ICT for Development.  He has a doctorate from ANU (1980), with a thesis on rural urban migration and urban unemployment in Papua New Guinea.


Inquiries: Sue Rider, Executive Officer, SSGM Project
Tel: +61 2 6125 8394 Fax: +61 2 6125 5525

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