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Curtin returns Timorese welcome by hosting public lecture

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Curtin University students and academics welcomed His Excellency Xanana Gusmão to campus recently where he presented a public lecture on relationships between Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Australia.

The lecture was hosted by Curtin’s Department of Social Sciences and Security Studies, based in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, as part of the Strategic Flashlight Forum on national security and strategy.

Until stepping aside in February 2015 to facilitate a generational leadership transition, His Excellency was Prime Minister of Timor-Leste for 7.5 years. Prior to that, he was sworn in as the first President of the Democratic Republic on 20 May 2002. He is currently the country’s Minister for Planning and Strategic Investment.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said this public lecture came about after a group of Curtin students visited Timor-Leste last year.

“Sixteen of our international relations students, along with their lecturer, visited Timor-Leste in November last year for a week-long study tour,” Professor Terry said.

“The trip was designed so that students could take their classroom learning to the villages, charities and international embassies, learning about diplomacy along the way.

“This initiative aligned with our commitment as a university to provide our students with classroom to real-world experience.”

During the tour, the students visited the Australian and American embassies, delivered a water, sanitation and hygiene program to two primary schools, visited the Timorese national Parliament and were guests of the Prime Minister’s office in Dili.

“The students were really appreciative of the warm welcome they received while visiting Timor-Leste and hosting this public lecture was an opportunity for Curtin to be able to return some of that respect and friendship by welcoming His Excellency to our University,” Professor Terry said.

The public lecture took place at Curtin’s Bentley campus on 26 April 2016.

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