Timor-Leste

National dialogue on identifying challenges to peace in Timor-Leste

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With the thought that tomorrow starts today, the Head of State, Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, has initiated a year-long project for 2009 with the theme: "Dili City of Peace". As one of a series of dialogues amongst various different groups countrywide, some of the emerging new generation who have been seen to be actively contributing to various fields of Timorese life will be brought together to provide a space for them to freely express and explore their ideas on the needs for sustainable peace in Timor-Leste.

The focus of this discussion would be on the theme "Dili City of Peace". This event is part of a year long Presidential initiative to turn Dili into a model of Peace. Its objective is to promote peaceful social conditions in order to support the consolidation of national stability, sovereignty and unity in Timor-Leste.

The decision to choose Dili as the starting point for this initiative was taken because Dili is often the starting place for various social trends. It was indeed in Dili that the problems which led to the 2006 crisis first appeared. And so it is from Dili that this programme aims to begin to scatter the seeds of peace throughout the country.

The President would like this Initiative for Peace to help re-build and consolidate national stability and unity. He hopes that transforming Dili into a city of peace will be the starting point for preventing violence, conflict and problems from spreading countrywide. It is therefore in Dili that the President wishes to plant the first seed of peace for the whole of Timor-Leste.

It is also the intention of this debate to alert each participant to their role in spreading these seeds of peace. It is through such a process that Timorese will be able to accept each other and build links between the older generation and the emerging leaders, who would all like to contribute to the development of Dili as a city. Here in Dili, the emerging leaders may dream of how to turn their thoughts into reality and prepare themselves to be able to guide the nation when their time comes. It will be these thoughts, observations and recommendations from the participants in the discussion which will become the seeds of peace and so we need to find an application for these contributions in the process of transforming Dili into a city of peace.

The planned workshop will identify and discuss concrete ways to make Dili a city of peace. It also aims to create a space for the emerging leaders to informally discuss a range of issues facing Timor-Leste. These discussions could in turn inform the design of a national dialogue mechanism.

Emerging leaders from various fields of Timorese life are invited to share their thoughts and visions on how to develop a strategy for preventing future crises and working towards making Dili a "City of Peace".

This workshop held by the President Office, funded by the Asia Foundation, and supported by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, CEPAD, as well as the Irish Government through the Conflict Resolution Unit (CRU) END