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Timor-Leste at 20: money from abroad, dreams of the island
Thursday 2 December, 9:30–11:45am (AEDT) / 7:30–9:45am (TLT)

In 2018 remittances from abroad became Timor-Leste’s largest non-fossil fuel related source of income, before coffee but after aid.

With producing gas and oil fields almost dry and the development of new ones still uncertain, it seems likely that in Timor-Leste’s third decade labour sending will take on a degree of economic and social importance it has never had before.

This online seminar brings together work on this distinct and largely unanticipated new stage in the growth of Southeast Asia’s youngest nation.

How will development fuelled by money earned by Timorese workers and remitted directly Timorese households look different from that occasioned by foreign donors and local bureaucrats based in Dili? An academic panel will present three papers related to this question, followed by a participant panel which will provide first-hand insights from workers who are in or have been to Australia as part of its Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).

Academic panel

Chair: Mark Notaras, Founder and Director, Timor-Leste Food Lab and Agora Food Studio

Michael Rose, Research Fellow, Development Policy Centre, Australian National University

Annie Wu, Assistant Researcher, University of Technology Sydney

Andrew McWilliam, Professor of Anthropology, Western Sydney University

Participant panel

Chair: Gordon Peake , Affiliate, Center for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Studies, Georgetown University

Jomat Tapal, Former SWP participant

Pedro Lay, Current PLS participant

Simon Pedro, Former SWP participant

Cesarina Doutel, Former SWP participant

This online seminar is free and open to the public. It will be recorded, and the recording will be available after the event on the Development Policy Centre website (

Dec 2, 2021 09:30 AM in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

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