Historical archive

International Conference in Timor-Leste on Youth, Identity and Nation-building

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreword, Conference Publication

This book is dedicated to you, the young people of Timor-Leste, your country’s future. You have a unique role to play in the search for solutions to both local and global challenges. You have the task of innovating, finding new approaches and rejuvenating our societies.

This book is dedicated to you, the young people of Timor-Leste, your country’s future. You have a unique role to play in the search for solutions to both local and global challenges. You have the task of innovating, finding new approaches and rejuvenating our societies.

You have faced war and oppression, and many of you have experienced being a refugee in your own country. You are faced with the challenges of creating a society in which girls and boys can have equal access to education and jobs.

Like young people everywhere, your lives will be increasingly affected by climate change, environmental degradation and the challenges of globalisation.

In post-conflict situations around the world, young people are seeking to find their role in nation-building processes. Too often they are ignored. From independence in 2002 to the crisis that erupted in 2006, young people in Timor-Leste received little international attention.

All young people want the opportunity to build a better future for themselves, their families and their nation. How can you become active participants in these efforts? How can society prepare you for a future leadership role? I believe there are two vital requirements.
 
First, you need to be given the opportunity to achieve your full potential. Education, safe and healthy communities, meaningful employment and participation in the decision-making process are key elements in this respect. A social commitment to creating opportunity and nurturing the talents of young people – both girls and boys – must be at the heart of the development process.

Second, you must strive to become agents of positive change, to use your talents and energy to confront the challenges facing not only Timor-Leste, but also the world. Each and every one of you must make a personal commitment.  

In order to stake out the path ahead, you need to understand your historical and cultural identity, the unique character of your people and your nation. Culture gives meaning to our lives; it helps us to define our values and understand the time in which we are living.

You have a mission in the world.

Your country has faced many difficulties. It is the world’s youngest democracy. And now Timor-Leste can set an example for others to follow.

I hope that the conference Youth, Identity and Nation-building, for which this publication has been prepared, will inspire the young generation of Timor-Leste to take the lead in building a better country and a better world.