The 2023 Timor-Leste Studies Association will host a special stream on Economic Development, convened by Guteriano Neves, an Independent Policy Analyst Based in Dili. This conference will provide an important venue for independent analysts, academics, and civil society to present their research and contest ideas on economic development and policy in Timor-Leste. Papers are invited to this special stream, which will include issues such as:

  • Fiscal cliff and Public Finance Management
  • Economic Diversification
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Inclusive and Equitable Economic Development
  • South Coast Petroleum Corridor
  • Special Economic Zones
  • Labor Migration and Remittance
  • Trade Policy, Regional and International Economic Integration
  • Political Economy
  • Rural and Agriculture Development
  • Aid and Development Partnership and other related topics. 

Contact Guteriano Neves for further information on this stream:  guteriano@gmail.com


This TLSA stream is devoted to exploring the continuum of resistance that linked the armed fighters in the mountains, the clandestine resistance in the towns, East Timorese students in Indonesia and in the diaspora, and international activists. This continuum of resistance was the most decisive factor in East Timor’s war of independence. It ensured that the war was fought along multiple dimensions: in the mountains, towns, and villages of East Timor, in the cities of Indonesia, at the United Nations, in several countries around the world, and in the international media. The weapons used by the combatants were not just bullets but newspaper articles, public talks, films, texts, and protests to weaken international support for Indonesia’s occupation. This stream welcomes contributions that explore the independence campaign’s multiple dimensions.

This stream is sponsored by the Centro Nacional Chega!

Contact Clinton Fernandes for further information on this stream: clinton.fernandes@adfa.edu.au


Gender studies is now an established field of research in Timor-Leste, undertaken by a mix of academics, activists, development practitioners and government. We welcome panel and paper proposals from all individuals and organisations. We encourage panels and papers relating to any aspect of gender roles, relations and gender equality as analysis of these issues is crucial for peace, democracy, and equality for everyone in Timor-Leste. These may include: gendered aspects or outcomes of customary practices, law, justice, health, education, nutrition, agriculture, political participation, veterans, masculinity, or other specific issues that may variously affect women, men, girls, boys, or gender expression and sexual identity (GESI), including families, communities or gender-based violence.

The TLSA conference provides a safe, secular space for intellectual discussions about challenging and sensitive social and political issues. Outcomes of the conference include peer reviewed published proceedings. This body of work now provides an archive of research material on Timor-Leste for use by all and it is freely available on the TLSA website. Conference panels and papers can be presented in Tetun, Indonesian, Portuguese, or English.

Contact Sara Niner for further information on this stream: sara.niner@monash.edu


Over the past two decades, Timorese academics in Timor-Leste have begun to discuss the need for decolonising or “Timorising” research and education about Timor-Leste. Some of the pertinent issues include the dominance of Western perspective in history writing, descriptions of Timorese culture which disregard key issues of local relevance, standardised academic methodologies that tend to be inapplicable to Timorese situations, research agendas set by foreign research institutes and aid agencies, citation practices that prioritize mainstreamed English and Portuguese publications over scholarly writings in Tetun, and the inaccessibility of more mainstreamed publications in libraries in Timor. Although other countries’ examples and discourses should be recognized as sources of inspiration for the studies of Timorese communities, the emerging criticisms of coloniality in knowledge production are striking. These pressing issues reflect the increasing presence of Timorese researchers and their dilemma in the post-colonial situation. There is also a scarcity in institutional, methodological, theoretical, and conceptual innovations to address such challenges. The stream convenor of ‘Decolonizing Timor-Leste Studies’ now invites academics, researchers, and teachers to advance such discussions in Timor-Leste Studies and to produce papers which reflect on these issues, and academic practices which are more relevant and meaningful for Timorese peoples and communities. The scope of the stream includes issues below:

  • The possibility of developing autonomous Timorese schools of thought in Timor-Leste.
  • Original problems emerged from Tetun and other Timorese language scholarly discussions.
  • Identifying the nature of coloniality, captivity, and academic dependency in Timor-Leste.
  • Identifying existing problems in global knowledge production about Timor-Leste.
  • Ideas for institutional renovation to encourage independent research from Timorese institutions.
  • Methodological and epistemological problems relating to the study of Timorese communities and history.
  • Commitment to social and historical discourse that involves the development of concepts, categories and research agenda which are relevant to local/regional conditions.
  • Reconsideration/reconstruction of alternative discourses from Timor and other countries/regions as sources of ideas for social science and history writing in Timor-Leste.

This stream is sponsored by the Timor-Leste Studies Initiative (TLSI) and AAS/SIDA

Contact Kisho Tsuchiya for further information on this stream: kishotsuchiya@cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp


Human rights and democracy are two sides of the same coin. The two components are critical for sustainable development and lasting peace. A country with democratic values should advocate not only civil and political rights but also other important rights such as social, economic and cultural rights. Timor-Leste’s Constitution upholds human rights and democracy as a foundation of the state. Throughout its democratization process, and despite its democracy index ranking the highest in Southeast Asia, the country has yet to meet many critical rights of its citizens. This stream invites contributions on these themes to be presented at the 2023 TLSA conference, including but not limited to the following sub-themes:

  • Human rights trends in Timor-Leste,
  • Women and human rights in Timor-Leste,
  • Disability rights in Timor-Leste,
  • Children’s rights in Timor-Leste,
  • Political participation and democracy in Timor-Leste,
  • Women’s political participation and democracy in Timor-Leste.

Contact Bernardo Leto for further information on this stream: cashyleto@gmail.com


Timor-Leste has been paradoxical on LGBT rights and issues: on the one hand, there have been gay pride marches and recognition of gay rights, yet there is gay homophobia within and beyond the households. However, as recognition and inclusion of LGBT rights often demands the state as right defender and protector, the heterosexual nature of state has been normalized. Furthermore, by perpetuating the dichotomies of heterosexuality/homosexuality with rights discourse, a variety of sexed gendered and sexualized subjects are depoliticalized, and how they map onto the national and international political arenas become unquestioned. By queering the dichotomies (normal-abnormal, homosexual/heterosexual) underlying the discourses and political practices, we expect to challenge what is taken-for-granted, naturalized and normalized, and broaden our understanding and knowledge about those trans, inter, cross and pan gendered, sexed and sexualized subjects as well as their experiences often mediated intersectionally by race, age and class, etc. LGBTQI stream wishes to let the participants have opportunities to unlearn the dominant discourses and assumptions regarding queer subjects and queering practices prevalent in Timorese study and politics of Timor-Leste. Moreover, through public dialogue and debates, participants are able to start reflecting on and discussing the possibilities and limitations of queer within political orders and institutions of Timor-Leste as well as the disciplinary boundary of Timorese studies.       

Contact Li-Li Chen for further information on this stream: lilichen5@gmail.com


Positive and negative peace are key concepts in peace and conflict studies. The ideas are significant in analyses towards human and ecological  security and underpin practice towards sustainable peace.  As the preamble to the constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stated over 75 years ago:

“a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world . .. [that] peace must therefore be founded upon intellectual and moral solidarity of [human]kind.”  (United Nations 1946: 1)

This stream invites contributions exploring such concepts in research to be presented at the 2023 TLSA conference, including but not limited to the following sub-themes:

  • Peace and ecology in Timor-Leste
  • Women and peace in Timor-Leste,
  • Youth and peace in Timor-Leste,
  • Local level peacebuilding in Timor-Leste,
  • Peace and political participation in Timor-Leste,
  • Regional leadership towards peace,
  • SDGs, human security and peace,
  • Peace through tourism in Timor-Leste,
  • Media and conflict in Timor-Leste,
  • Nonviolence and social change,
  • Peace and conflict studies: new research.

Contact Lynda Blanchard for further information on this stream:  lyndablanchard99@gmail.com

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