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Weekly News

Engaging Internationally: Vol.1

By the International Engagement Team

Themes for this week: Nationalism and Elections in Timor Leste; Attitudes to education and aid in PNG.


Timor Leste Elections

The Timor Leste Presidential Elections were held over the past fortnight. According to many, the elections are a strong indicator of progress towards democracy in Timor Leste, however once again, the resistance party Fretilin was elected, and largely through the endorsement of Francisco Guterres from famed resistance fighter Xanana Guomao. It is evident that as nation, Timor still feels an enduring loyalty to their resistance fighters, and this war for independence, and those who led it, are a core part of the national identity and collective narrative. Some experts predict that this is the last election that will demonstrate this degree of loyalty to the resistance fighters, and the next election could see a new, progressive party come to victory. What would catalyse this transition, and why has it not happened in this election?

PNG - Aid, Education and Altruism

Once again, the quantity and nature of Australia’s Aid to Papua New Guinea has been in the news this week, with many once again raising the question of what progress, if any, our aid has made in the past decade. This debate emerged alongside reports from the PNG Government that 500,000 children remain out of formal schooling. Attitudes towards foreign aid have shifted markedly over the past decade, and the Government narrative now posits aid as only valuable if it directly benefits Australia. What does this say about our collective attitudes towards altruism? What might catalyse a shift in these values in coming years? And why are we always contesting our approach to PNG?

  • PNG asks Australia to fund Education during Ministerial Forum: ABC News

  • 500,000 Children in PNG without Formal Education: The National

  • Must read: ‘Aid is not charity’ - The Australian Government response to PNG’s request for direct budgetary assistance: The Sydney Morning Herald

  • Australia owes PNG more than Charity: The Age

  • Must read: The Conundrum of Foreign Aid - Does it make a difference? The Age

Want to respond to these articles?
Write an article, voice your opinions, get in touch with us!
Contact Rachel via email @ r.nunn@theoaktree.org



Attend (Events - Melbourne)
  • April 5 - Global Design Development Summit @ RMIT: Tickets

  • April 10 - Engaging Young Australians and Papua New Guineans in the Political Process: Lowy Institute

  • April 26-28 - Asia Pacific Humanitarian Leadership Conference @ Deakin: Humanitarian Events


  • Live Below the Line Campaign Video: YouTube  

We're Hiring!

Check out the new Position Descriptions for our Timor Leste Program Director, and Director of International Youth Exchange, on our website.