Thoughts on the follow-up project in Timor-Leste

Thoughts on the follow-up project in Timor-Leste

Dear beautiful people, Since we arrived back in Norway, we, the Peace Project team has gotten some time to reflect on our projects, and we will share some of our thoughts in this final post about our trip to Timor-Leste. As you may know, the Peace Project worked on two main projects while we were in Timor-Leste; the five-days seminar and the renovation of the Peace Centre. When it comes to the seminar we were all pleased. The seminar was a success, all the participants seemed to enjoyed it and the workshop-groups collaborated really well despite that the participants didn’t know each other from before and that they came from different backgrounds.  We were also very impressed with how the girls took a more and more active role in group discussions throughout the seminar. Even though the seminar went well, we did face some practical challenges. First of all, the language. Not many spoke English, and none of us spoke Portuguese...
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Guest post – Reflection on the seminar

Guest post – Reflection on the seminar

Hello dear people! As the seminar is over, we have been lucky enough to get a reflection paper on the seminar from José da Costa Pereira Soares, one of the participants at the seminar. Reflection on Student Peace Prize Seminar Once I heard that there would be a seminar organized by Norway Student Peace Prize (SPP) and Peace Center-UNTL, I immediately said yes. Because, what came up in my mind at the time, was that I wanted to get to know more about Student Peace Prize and Peace Center, practice my English Language and be connected with new people from different places.   Overall, I enjoyed the seminar very much. All the themes we had were very interesting, especially the theme “Sustainability and Climate Crisis”, because this is what Timor-Leste and the world is facing now. Mr. Adão Barbosa’s lecture was about climate change and sustainable agriculture; he tried to tell us the causes and the effects of climate change in the world and...
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Seminar day 5 – Future

Seminar day 5 – Future

Dear all faithful readers (and you new ones) Today was the fifth, and last day of the seminar, and the theme was “Future”. The aim for the day was to make the participants reflect over their hopes for the future both individual and societal. The seminar started with a workshop on the future of Timor-Leste. The participants were divided into the same workshop-groups, before they got three different questions to discuss. First they discussed how the situation in Timor-Leste is today, especially in regards to development. Secondly they discussed how Timor-Leste is realistically in 10 years, and lastly where they hope Timor-Leste is in 10 years. After each of these questions the groups were asked to sum up what they discussed in one sentence and present it to the whole group. This was followed by another final question, if the hope and what’s realistic in 10 years is different, why? And what can be done to achieve the hope for the country?...
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Seminar day 4 – Political Engagement

Seminar day 4 – Political Engagement

Ola! The topic of the fourth seminar day has been political engagement, with a focus on the type of peaceful activism which Antero da Silva and ETSSC won the Student Peace Prize for. We started the day with a lecture by Prof. Antero da Silva on non-violent activism. The volunteer Dorcy started the session by presenting iconic figures such as Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa for inspiration. Antero made the presentation engaging by tying his own upbringing and life to the history of the Indonesian occupation. The first workshop of the day was started with an exercise called “the chairs”. The objective of it was to see how people communicated when having different goals to reach a similar solution. At first it went quite peacefully and well, but once we introduced a new conflict by stealing chairs we created an almost anarchistic situation! The affected participants protected their chairs and stole them back while others watched with interest, due...
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Seminar day 3 – Sustainable development and climate crisis

Seminar day 3 – Sustainable development and climate crisis

Hi-ha-hello! Today was the third day of seminar, and the theme of the day was “Sustainable development and climate crisis”. The seminar started with a lecture by Adao Soares Barbosa, a professor at the agriculture faculty at the National University of Timor-Leste (UNTL), on climate change and sustainable agriculture. The lecture focused on the impacts of climate change in Timor-Leste, now and for the coming years, and how Timor-Leste can handle such crisis, especially when it comes to agriculture. Professor Barbosa also mentioned the United Nation Convention of Climate Change (UNCCC), as a global agreement on climate change, with the aim to cut greenhouse gases, ensure food security and economic growth as well as achieve sustainable ecosystems. The participants responded with a lot of questions to Professor Barbosa, which resulted in a delayed snack break, which of course, was no problem. After the snack break, we continued the seminar with a workshop called “in the other’s shoes”. The workshop was supposed to make...
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Seminar day 2: Diversity

Seminar day 2: Diversity

Yesterday we had our second day of seminar, and this time, we got to borrow a huge room in the Ministry of Solidarity, and best of all, it had air-condition! We started of the day with some name games, so that everyone got to know one another better. The theme of the day was Diversity, so after we learned each other’s names, we had a session called ‘the diverse me’. In this session, everyone thought of 3 things that makes them unique. After, they would go in couples and discuss these things. Some of the things were also true for the other person, some were not, and they later talked about how they could use their differences to help  each other. Up next we had a lecture by the “Women, peace and leadership” (WPL) group which is under the Peace Centre at UNTL, and was founded 18.08.2012. It is organized by volunteers who focus on developing women’s skills, especially to ensure...
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Seminar day 1 – The Student Peace Prize

Seminar day 1 – The Student Peace Prize

Bon dias! Today was the day we been looking forward to, dreaded, and waited for, for a long time; the first day of the seminar. When we woke up this morning, we had mixed feelings of being excited and nervous. Would the seminar go well? Would the participants show up? Would they understand us? There were so many unanswered questions, and we were just about to find out. When we finally started the seminar after quite a few delays, we were pleased to see that so many participants showed up. There were in total 44 participants, 10 volunteers, 5 of us, and Professor Lynda-Ann Blanchard and Professor Antero da Silva. The seminar started with an opening ceremony by Antero Benedito da Silva. He started with a very symbolic song, a farmer's song that expressed the importance of farmers and how Timor-Leste is nothing without them. He continued with a political poem from 1975, about the resistance from the Indonesian occupation, a poem that...
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The Peace Centre

The Peace Centre

Hi beautiful people! Today we will share some information about the Peace Centre here in Timor-Leste, as part of our follow-up project is to finance the renovation of the centre. The rebuilding of Timor-Leste after the occupation of Indonesia faced a serious setback in 2006, when Timor-Leste was in a major political crisis that resulted in loss of over 100 lives, personal injury and massive destruction of property. The crisis started with conflicts within the military of Timor-Leste that led to almost 600 soldiers being dismissed from the military. The crisis turned violent as armed clashes between the police, army, rebel soldiers and youth activist occurred. Foreign governments were requested to intervene to restore order, including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal, who all sent troops and forces to Timor-Leste. In addition to this foreign intervention, the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights were investigating the conflict. Antero Benedito da Silva called for an intervention strategy and organized a national youth dialogue...
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Visit to the Intergrated Guidlines Institute (IMI)

Visit to the Intergrated Guidlines Institute (IMI)

The other day we were so lucky to be invited to visit Integrated Guidelines Institute (IMI) to hear about their projects for the young farmers in the Ermera region. We drove up in the mountains with three volunteers from Dili – which will also volunteer during the seminars. In Ermera we met the vice-president for the União Agricultori Ermere (UNAER) Alberto M. Guterres and Leo Soares, Abrâd Dedeles who are teachers at Instituto Economia Fulidaidai Sluli (IEFS). We arrived at their office and sat down with them so they could tell us about their work, and we told them about our work as well. The work they are doing is so important, and we share many of the same values. Firstly, their work consist of teaching farmers about sustainability. They are teachers at the IEFS school where they invite farmers so they can increase their knowledge about sustainable farming. It is very important for them that the farmers take this knowledge...
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Why Timor-Leste and Antero da Silva?

Why Timor-Leste and Antero da Silva?

Hello dear readers of our awesome blog! It is only four days until the seminar starts, and therefore we would like to share some information about Student Peace Prize winner Antero da Silva and his work, as well as the current situation in Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste is a country in Southeast Asia, and is one of the youngest countries in the world as it got it’s independence May 20th 2002, after a long and brutal fight against the Indonesian occupation. From the 16th century Timor-Leste was a Portuguese colony, until the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) declared the territory’s independence in 1975. Only nine days after the independence from Portugal, Timor-Leste was occupied by Indonesia. The Indonesian occupation were characterized by struggle, violence, and conflict between the Indonesian military and independence fighters. Antero da Silva grew up during this chaotic time, but was always dreaming of an independent and peaceful island. Da Silva founded East Timor Student Solidarity Council (ETSSC)...
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