On the 18th of August the Government launched a documentary film that tells the story of the Timor Awakening Initiative involving Timorese and Australian veterans. The Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo, commended the film as a way to share the success of the program which had “so positively impacted the lives of veterans and their families.”
The Prime Minister’s Office announced support for Timor Awakening in July 2016 and has facilitated meetings between visiting Australian veterans and Timorese resistance veterans. The initiative aims to improve the wellbeing of former Australian service personnel and includes 10-day adventures to Timor-Leste. To date four such ‘adventures’ have been conducted with 100 Timorese and 83 Australian veterans participating.
Ms. Ines Almeida, the Prime Minister’s Liaison Officer for Veteran Affairs and Coordinator of Timor Awakening, said the program has also been very beneficial for Timor-Leste. She highlighted the strengthening of the relationship between Timorese and Australian veterans, the healing impact of Timorese veterans sharing their stories, and the development of historical tourism, as highly valuable outcomes.
In July 2017 the ‘Resistance Hideout’ in Ossu, Viqueque was opened as a historical tourism attraction and several other sites are now being considered. Timor-Leste’s unique cultural and historical heritage is highly attractive and a key aspect of Timor-Leste’s national tourism policy and tourism marketing plan.
The fifty-minute documentary which is narrated in Tetum is soon to be given English subtitles.
Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Agio Pereira said “Timor Awakening has been an excellent program. We congratulate all involved; organizers, hosts, leaders and participants. This kind and positive way of honouring veterans by caring for their wellbeing, by coming alongside them in friendship and solidarity, and by immersing them in the warmth and generosity of Timorese hospitality, highlights the very best attributes of the enduring friendship between our two countries.”
(Source: Government of Timor Leste Press Release 21 August 2017)