Timor-Leste's Path to ASEAN Membership: Keypoints from the 7th ASEAN Media Forum 2023

Timor-Leste's Path to ASEAN Membership: Keypoints from the 7th ASEAN Media Forum 2023
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The 7th ASEAN Media Forum in 2023 featured a panel discussion that shed light on Timor-Leste's journey towards becoming a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The panel, composed of distinguished individuals, including former Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Sayakane Sisouvong, Director of Timor-Leste’s Water Public Utility Company Joao da Cruz Cardoso, and research professor at Research Center for Politics-National Research and Innovation Agency, Professor Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar, provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities facing Timor-Leste as it seeks to diversify its economy and move away from oil-dominated revenue streams.

Timor-Leste, a small but resilient nation in Southeast Asia, has been making significant strides towards its ASEAN membership. The panelists discussed key issues and strategies necessary for Timor-Leste's successful integration into the regional organization.

Diversifying Timor-Leste's Economy

One of the central focus of the discussion revolved around the necessity of diversifying Timor-Leste's economy, which has historically heavily relied on oil-based revenue. Joao da Cruz Cardoso underscored the significance of diminishing this dependence on oil income, as it presents economic vulnerabilities in the long term. Furthermore, Joao highlighted that the Timor-Leste government acknowledges that diversification is crucial not only for ensuring economic stability but also for fostering sustainable development within the nation.

Panel discussion on Timor-Leste accessin to ASEAN at 7th ASEAN Media Forum 2023
Panel discussion on Timor-Leste accessin to ASEAN at 7th ASEAN Media Forum 2023

Challenges in Infrastructure and Human Resources

Ambassador Sayakane emphasized the significance of infrastructure development for the effective hosting of ASEAN events. Joao da Cruz Cardoso further highlighted that substantial improvements in facilities, such as hotels and meeting spaces, were essential to meet ASEAN standards. Meanwhile, Dewi Fortuna Anwar emphasized the critical importance of developing human resources and education to ensure that the country possesses the expertise required for active engagement in ASEAN activities.

History, Rights, and International Relations

The panel discussion briefly touched upon Timor-Leste's history and its struggle for independence. It was emphasized that the nation's commitment to human rights and positive international relations was instrumental in gaining support for its accession to ASEAN.

The Road Ahead

Ambassador Sayakane was asked about the timeline for Timor-Leste's official membership in ASEAN. He indicated that it might become a reality in two years or coincide with Malaysia's chairmanship of ASEAN in 2025. The consensus seemed to be that the nation was on the right path and making commendable progress towards ASEAN membership.

Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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