Indigenous self-determination, development and peacebuilding in Timor-Leste

Since 1999 East-Timorese peoples have embraced development to achieve their goals of self-determination and peace. However, there continues to be substantial violence, actual, structural and cultural, in East-Timorese communities, some of which is exacerbated or triggered by international development interventions.

Between 2009 and 2013 Sophia Close interviewed a range of experienced East-Timorese development and peacebuilding practitioners seeking their views on the root causes of development-related violence in Timor-Leste - and their suggestions about how to better achieve self-determination.

This seminar is a summary of Sophia's PhD field research findings in which she argues that Indigenous East-Timorese knowledge systems provide a radically different worldview from that which informs the current development system in Timor-Leste. Sophia will provide examples of how development practitioners can transform their practice and better support East-Timorese goals of peace and Indigenous self-determination by valuing and empowering Indigenous knowledges.

Biography: Sophia Close is a PhD Candidate at ANU's National Centre for Indigenous Studies. For over 13 years she has been working in the international development and peacebuilding sectors, with a focus on Indigenous governance, conflict and peacebuilding in the Asia Pacific region.


Date & time

Wed 09 Mar 2016, 12.30–2pm


Humanities Research Centre Conference Room, First Floor, A.D. Hope Bldg #14 (opposite Chifley Library), The Australian National University, Canberra.


Sophia Close - National Centre for Indigenous Studies - ANU

Event series


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