Language rights, education and identity in Timor-Leste

Presented by Kirsty Sword-Gusmao.

As the Southeast Asia region’s newest nation emerging from centuries of colonial rule and a brutal 24-year occupation, Timor-Leste faces immense challenges in establishing a quality education system and national curriculum which reflect and uphold the country’s rich cultural heritage and resilience of its people.

In the University of Melbourne’s Human Rights Lecture, Kirsty Sword Gusmão will share her experiences of working to develop a national language-in-education policy which respects the linguistic rights of children to acquire literacy in their mother tongue, and to create a new primary curriculum which fosters pride in the nation’s unique cultural identity, history of struggle and experience of nation-building.

Addressing the complex issue of national identity in a post-colonial and post-conflict setting, Ms Sword Gusmão will also offer her reflections on Timor-Leste’s leadership in championing the rights of fragile states in the developing world in their relations with large, wealthy donor countries.