The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation
Addressing the Critical Issues Facing Asia - 60 Years
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A newly democratic, natural resource-rich nation, Timor-Leste’s development dreams are at risk of being interrupted by corruption, largess, and inefficiency in its young institutions. It is these very institutions, abiding by and upholding the rule of law, that are needed to turn the heavily oil-dependent country’s petro-dollars into long-term, broad-based economic growth for the benefit of all, rather than a few powerful elites in the short term. Strengthening the capabilities of these institutions, and citizens’ understanding of them, is a key focus of our staff in Dili, as well as on conflict management and women’s empowerment. Read country overview.


As citizens of the newest independent nation in Asia, the people of Timor-Leste have high hopes for the Policia Nacional del Timor-Leste as a vanguard of peace, stability, and justice. Although this nascent institution lacks the resources, training, and skills to adequately address current security needs, we have learned that crime can be reduced, and often prevented. If police engage with the community and actively improve their accountability to citizens. The Asia Foundation is a leader in strengthening ties between police and communities to improve police performance and build public trust. In an ongoing effort to build support for police reform and further institutionalize community engagement, we have helped strengthen the technical capacity of police officers, civil society, and community leaders in community policing; supported grants to resolve urgent security priorities at the local level, like domestic violence and land disputes; and engaged more than 10,000 citizens and community leaders and 1,088 police officers. Strengthening the capabilities of institutions like the national police, and citizens' understanding of them, is a key focus of our staff in Dili, as well as on conflict management and women's empowerment.


Program and Partner Highlights

The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program began operating in Timor-Leste in 2004, and has since donated more than 100,000 books to schools, libraries, nongovernmental organizations and public-sector agencies throughout the country. Learn more about our Books for Asia program in Timor-Leste and watch an interview with Program Officer Dores Vilanova.

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