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Timor-Leste

The History and Development of Asia’s Newest Nation

Abraham Joseph and Takako Hamaguchi - Foreword by José Ramos-Horta

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Timor-Leste: The History and Development of Asia’s Newest Nation is a study of how a small Asia-Pacific nation has emerged from protracted conflict and successfully navigated a path to durable peace and sustainable development. Despite early setbacks, Timor-Leste has made an amazing turnaround and today finds itself in a new era in which it will certainly continue its advance toward the goal of long-term stability and prosperity, leaving permanently behind the past that was once marked by a descending spiral of destruction.

Yet, a number of development challenges lie ahead for Timor-Leste, particularly in strengthening human, institutional, and infrastructural capacities in the short to medium term, and in transforming the national economy from oil-based to more diversified and better balanced in the longer run. Other countries may draw valuable lessons from Timor-Leste’s experience, especially those that are emerging from as well as are currently affected by conflict and instability. Such lessons would center on the questions such as management of natural resources, empowerment of the vulnerable, implementation of transparent and accountable governance, advancement of women, and mobilization of civil society and the public in general for democratization and the national development process.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 216Size: 6 3/8 x 9 3/4
978-0-7391-9120-0 • Hardback • June 2014 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-0-7391-9527-7 • Paperback • December 2015 • $44.99 • (£29.95)
978-0-7391-9121-7 • eBook • June 2014 • $41.99 • (£27.95)
Abraham Joseph has held various senior-level positions at the United Nations, including the head of the Office of Socioeconomic Affairs in the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste. He also served as a senior advisor to Timor-Leste’s foreign minister.

Takako Hamaguchi worked for UNICEF for sixteen years before starting her own international development and cooperation consultancy firm.
Preface and Acknowledgement
Chapter 1: Timor-Leste and Its Economic History in Brief
Chapter 2: Declaring Development as a Right
Chapter 3: Investing with Natural Resource Endowments
Chapter 4: Promoting Agriculture and Food Security
Chapter 5: Empowering the Vulnerable
Chapter 6: Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change
Chapter 7: Implementing Millennium Development Goals
Chapter 8: Partnering with the World Community
Chapter 9: From Tragedy to Triumph – Building the Foundation of Modern Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste provides most interesting insights into the political history that led to the birth of the country as an independent nation. . . .The authors have chronicled the development of Timor-Leste in a highly readable form. Beyond those interested in learning about the development of Timor-Leste in the twelve years since its independence, the book will be useful for national leaders, development planners, policy makers and those in international organizations working in post-conflict countries seeking to give advice by way of example. No country’s journey ever ends, so it will be interesting to follow Timor-Leste’s development to 2030. This book provides a baseline for putting in perspective what is to come.
AFICS Bulletin


Abraham Joseph and Takako Hamaguchi . . . have deeply analyzed the economic development of Timor-Leste from the very beginning and its impact on every fabric of society. By providing a glowing tribute to the nations adeptness in governance, its policy framework, organizational efficacy, and its continuance in adopting a systematic approach to address its structural and instituitional bottlenecks, the authors highlight the commitment, resolve, resilience and determination of the governing body to lift the nation out of poverty. . . .With in-depth knowledge and valuable insights into the various aspects of the economy in the past, present and future, obstacles, challenges, goals and opportunities, and its response to climate change, the reader will gain an understanding of the progress of the modern nation in its realization of its right to development and achievement of all the eight Millennium Development Goals.
MediaGlobal News


This book is a rich source of lessons for many small nations around the world struggling to harness their natural resources for the improvement of their people. It is not just that Timor-Leste is a new nation; it is even more important that it is a smart nation judging from the innovations it has put in its constitutions and the institutions that it has created to help advance the welfare of its people. This book is a powerful testimony of how a new nation can rise from tragedy to triumph by adopting smart development policies and institutions.
Calestous Juma, Harvard University


The authors have examined, with the trained and clinical eyes of fine economists, the entire fabric of Timor-Leste’s socio economic structure, from natural resource investment to climate change, from food and agriculture to the empowerment of the vulnerable, and to the implementation of the millennium development goals. There is a wealth of statistics, garnered with circumspection and presented with clarity, which support the authors’ overall contention of a devastated country in the process of recovery, and a realistic assessment of assets, both current and potential, particularly in respect of oil and gas in the Timor Sea.
Jamsheed Marker, former Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for East Timor and author of East Timor: a Memoir of the Negotiations for Independence (2003)


Timor-Leste: The History and Development of Asia’s Newest Nation offers a fresh perspective on Timor-Leste's extraordinary journey over the past decade.
Ameerah Haq, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Field Support and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste


This book is a must read for anyone interested in understanding Timor-Leste and will be in years to come the benchmark of future studies on the country.
Victor Savage, National University of Singapore


The book of Abraham Joseph and Takako Hamaguchi is highly welcome. It gives an incomparable analysis of the challenge successfully faced by Timor-Leste as a new and fragile state. …It is to be hoped that thanks to this book other fragile states will break the vicious circle of state fragility as done by Timor-Leste.
Patrick Guillaumont, Université d'Auvergne, former member of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy


Joseph and Hamaguchi, expertly, professionally, and credibly, describe the history and the current realities of Timor-Leste. They go on to present the information from which potential collaborative blueprints for the near future of this new dynamic nation may be drawn upon as it progresses into in its second decade—a decade expected to match or even exceed the development of the first decade.
John E. Steffens, University of Oklahoma


The book co-authored by Abraham Joseph and Takako Hamaguchi Timor-Leste: The History and Development of Asia's Newest Nation is an excellent contribution in the area of post-conflict studies - the emergence of a country from total destruction at the time of its independence and within a decade moves from recovery to enter the development phase. It is a true testament to what can be realized when government and people come together to help rebuild a country that is not afraid of taking the reigns to establish itself as a stronger nation, thereby building a better future for its people. It is a must read for policymakers, academics, the private sector and NGOs/CSOs.
Afaf Konja, Spokesperson for the President of the United Nations General Assembly 68th Session


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