Dili, April 26, 2011 — At a ceremony held today, The Asia Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE) of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste for a two-year initiative to strengthen human resources and institutional policy within the MNE. The project is funded by the United States Department of Stateâ€™s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor with technical support facilitated by the Asia Foundation.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding marks an important step for Timor-Leste to remain connected to the outside world â€śSince the beginning of its struggle for independence, Timor-Leste has hit well above its weight in the international arena through the efforts of a handful of extraordinarily gifted statesmen. Now the country is seeking to ensure continuity to sustain these gains through strengthening the institutions that support these functions,â€ť explains Silas Everett, The Asia Foundationâ€™s Country Representative in Timor-Leste. Everett adds, “Improvements in MNE capacity mean stronger cultural, economic, and trade relations with other countries â€“ all of which are crucial to keep active the conduits for innovation and investment essential for a young developing country.”
H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa says, “The Government of Timor-Leste, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairsâ€™ leadership, intends to increase its engagement with its neighbors, and in regional and international affairs. For this reason, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently prioritizing leadership, management, diplomatic, language, general office and professional skills as requisite for its staff to execute their roles within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in each of its diplomatic missions abroad.”
The Asia Foundation, a trusted and independent development partner in the Asia-Pacific region for more than half a century, plans to help the MNE in building capacity in finance and administration; developing Ministry training curriculum, learning resources, and libraries; supporting the consolidation of institutional policies; and compiling foreign policy positions.