Languages

(UNESCO / Japan Young Researchers' fellowships programme)

The construction of the East Timorese National Identity, Intercultural Dialogue East Timor-Portugal

Summary of research carried out: 
The construction of the East Timorese National Identity, Intercultural Dialogue East Timor-Portugal

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste started its independent life on 20 May 2001, becoming the newest country in the world.

This research focuses on the construction of the East Timorese national identity, studying the interactions between the local population and the foreign influences, mainly Portuguese.

After intensive historical analysis based on original documents, interviews in situ, and personal experience in the territory, I reached the conclusion that the Portuguese culture only touched a particular community, a few people of higher social status and not the majority of East Timorese.

This research analyzed the national identity of the East Timorese society, trying to understand the dynamics of the interaction that prevailed between the Portuguese and the East Timorese for a long time. This process is very different from other cases in the region, where nationalism has been constructed on traditional local cultures and has tried to distance itself from the influence of former colonial powers. This situation calls for the need for a better understanding of East Timorese identity as an Ibero-Asiatic culture.

 

22 October 2002