Since Fundasaun Mahein’s establishment in 2009, our work has focused mainly on domestic security issues, especially related to the security institutions and other aspects of national security policy and concerns. For some time, we have discussed the possibility of expanding our focus to analysing regional and international dynamics which relate to Timor-Leste’s security and foreign policy. However, due to our limited human resources and Timor-Leste’s many domestic security issues, we have been unable to focus on these broader issues so far.
In light of more recent developments, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Timor-Leste’s likely accession to ASEAN and other regional and international geopolitical dynamics, Fundasaun Mahein has decided that now is the time to prepare for expanding the scope of our research work to focus on issues beyond Timor-Leste’s national borders. To enable this work, we plan to create two separate – but interlinked – research departments within the organisation.
The first department will focus on national security, continuing with our long-term monitoring, research and advocacy programs on domestic security issues. The second will focus on foreign affairs, and involve research on regional and international geopolitical, security and military developments and their implications for Timor-Leste’s military and security strategies, diplomacy and economic policies.
Fundasaun Mahein researcher Sancho Xavier will serve as the coordinator of the new foreign affairs department, while Executive Director João Almeidawill oversee the national security department. In the coming months, we hope to be able to begin recruiting researchers for both our existing and new programs. For now, we will continue producing high quality research and analysis on a broad range of domestic security topics, while we prepare to expand our scope to international security issues.