Timor-Lestes independence was forged at a time international developmental theory had rejected top down approaches and recognised the importance of participatory approaches informing developmental strategies.
When the arrival of the United Nations and a multitude of bilateral and multilateral and non-government organisations arrived in Timor-Leste in 1999 it was hoped that the international intervention would at last produce a development success story.
Independence also brought the realisation that dreams for an independent Timor-Leste varied, often according to their generation.
Three generations of Timorese: the political elite, a younger generation of independence activists (gerasaun foun) and todays youth of independent Timor-Leste, each bring their own experiences and face different challenges in Timor-Leste.
Today stark contrasts between the values of customary life and those of the modernising world place both community leaders and young Timorese at a crossroads.
The experiences of the Timorese are unique, but this book reflects a broader analysis about how aid influenced processes of development can work in greater harmony with the people to realise their own visions of the future of the nation.