Friendship & People-to-People Connection: An Effective Development Model

The Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network (AusTimorFN) was established in 2009. It is an umbrella for over 40 Friendship Associations from around Australia, each of which enjoys a special relationship with a municipality or town in Timor-Leste. These Associations, in collaboration with local government, private sector and service organisations such as Rotary have done amazing work to help Timor-Leste rebuild. Special and enduring friendships and people to people connections are, however, the hallmark of these Friendship Groups. Find out more and sign up to receive emails about forthcoming highlights and events.

Listen to the brains behind the Friendship Association concept reflect on the 20 years since the vote for independence. Abel Guterres is the former Ambassador to Australia and an inspiring advocate for the rights and interests of his people. I am proud to call him a personal friend.

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About Me
I was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1966. As a student of the Italian and Indonesian languages at Melbourne University in the 1980's I became aware of the plight of the people of a small half-island called East Timor. A colony of Portugal for 500 years, East Timor or "Timor-Leste" was invaded by its huge neighbour, Indonesia, in 1975. It's a long story, but like many Australians and other citizens of the world, it made me angry and sad to learn that my own government aided and abetted that invasion in order to gain the upper hand in negotiating access to oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea, just north of Australia. At the cost of a quarter of a million Timorese lives. I decided to do something about it. And I still am today. 

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