Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Building Collaborative Partnerships in East Timor Forum

Over 150 supporters of East Timor came together to share and learn from each other at the "Building Collaborative Partnerships in East Timor" Forum held at University of Western Sydney, Parramattta Campus on Saturday 14th July.
The forum was organised by the Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters in partnership with academics from UWS's School of Business, Dr Wayne Fallon, and the Institute of Culture and Society, Dr Gabriela Coronado.
The Forum was opened by Kirsty Sword Gusmao who spoke about the achievements of East Timor Friendship and Support groups from across Australia in assisting the Timorese to rebuild their lives and their country. Kirsty also acknowledged the important work of academics like Prof Damien Kingsbury in gathering research and an evidence base for Timor's development. She commended the organising group and the University of Western Sydney for this important initiative and encouraged consideration of running a future forum in Timor Leste.
"The Forum was long overdue," said one of the BMETS organisers, Mary Waterford, "We were really thrilled with the response which showed that the forum really met a need for everyone involved in the Australian-based East Timor Friendship and Support groups. We hope that this will be the first of many such forums."
BMETS Sister Suzie van Opdorp commented "It was wonderful to hear about the experience of so many that are involved. The breadth of experience, skills and knowledge was very impressive and the energy palpable. Of course we were really pleased that Kirsty Sword Gusmao and Timroesse Ambassador Abel Guterres not only attended but were integral to the success of the day."
Timorese Ambassador to Australia, Senhor Abel Guterres, summed up the day with enthusiasm noting congratulations to the organising group for hosting an event that was a clear success. He He also proposed that the 2013 forum be held in Australia with the forum in 2014 being held in East Timor.
BMETS would also like to acknowledge the role of the organising committee including John Telford of the Blue Mtns Council East Timor Friendship Committee, Jenny Coles, Executive Assistant to Kirsty Sword Gusmao,  UWS's School of Business, Dr Wayne Fallon, and the Institute of Culture and Society, Dr Gabriela Coronado, Timorese Consul-General Maria-Jose De Jesus. We also acknowledge the role of the University in hosting an event - without this foresight and generosity the forum would not have taken place.
For more information email BMETS via Suzie van Opdorp on or Mary Waterford on

A Conversation with Kirsty Sword Gusmao

It was no doubt a cold winter's evening in the Blue Mountains, however, the atmosphere in the Carrington Hotel was nothing but warm when former Timorese First Lady and wife of Timorese PM Xanana Gusmao, Kirsty Sword Gusmao,  visited during the the evening of the 13th July.

At an event hosted by the Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters, ABC journalist Gregg Borschmann interviewed Kirsty Sword Gusmao, UN Goodwill Ambassador for Education in East Timor. They discussed a broad range of topics including politics, living conditions, literacy programs and language. The program will later be broadcast on ABC Radio National's "Big Ideas" program.

This was Kirsty's second visit to the Mountains and nearly 100 people attended the event, most from the Blue Mountains. Following her visit in 2008, Kirsty was deeply moved by the generosity of the Blue Mountains community in supporting her work and that of the Alola Foundation for women and children. Coming to the Mountains as a special guest of the Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters was Kirsty's initiative and speaks to the high esteem in which she holds the group and the Blue Mountains community.

On the evening we raised over $4,500 towards Kirsty's projects including the Mother Tongue Literacy Project. Again our success is only possible with the generosity of our supporters.

A very big thank you to Gregg Borschmann and his Radio National crew, the musicians Gary Daley, Brett Hirst and Osama Mustafa), the Cariington Hotel, especially Mark Jarvis and Michael Brushetta, Josh and KFM Media and the students from UWS School of Film and Media.

Above Photo: Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters enjoy a moment with Kirsty.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Fund-raising Evening with Kirsty Sword-Gusmao

"Timor Leste ten years on: Hopeful Beginnings and Future Directions"

Hear Kirsty Sword-Gusmao, Good Will Ambassador for Education, in conversation with ABC Journalist: Gregg Borschman at
the Carrignton Hotel, Katoomba. Friday 13th July from 7pm - 9pm.

Please join us on this wonderful occasion.  Cost $50 donation. To make you booking go to:      All funds raised will assist education porgrams in East Timor.