[TimorLesteStudies] New Book: Rebecca E. Engel, 'The 2006 Crisis in East Timor: Lessons for Contemporary Peacebuilding', (Routledge, 2020)

Michael Leach mleach at swin.edu.au
Thu Oct 1 10:32:32 AEST 2020

Rebecca E. Engel. 2021. The 2006 Crisis in East Timor: Lessons for Contemporary Peacebuilding. Abingdon & New York: Routledge. 248pp.


This book argues that the international community must share responsibility for contributing to the conditions that resulted in violent conflict in Timor-Leste, four years after it declared independence from Indonesia. Its failure to tailor interventions to Timor-Leste’s specific political economy and conflict dynamics distanced the state from its citizens and undermined its capacity to forge a political settlement founded on a robust social contract.

At a time in which conflict-affected states are receiving unprecedented attention and peacekeeping operations and humanitarian emergencies are becoming increasingly complex, this book argues that radical changes are urgently required in the way the international community operates in these environments. The findings are rooted in an examination of the mechanisms used by international development actors in Timor-Leste between 1998 and 2006. In bringing together wide-ranging perspectives, the author shows that international actions cannot be separated from the local political and socio-economic context, demonstrating that interventions are never ‘apolitical’ and that peacebuilding must be intentional. Indeed, political settlements premised on a robust social contract should not be taken for granted anywhere. The impact of increasing disenfranchisement, mistrust in institutions and structural inequalities evident in the global North suggest that lessons from peacebuilding in Timor-Leste are relevant far beyond its shores.

This book is essential for students and researchers in the fields of development studies, international political economy, peacebuilding and conflict resolution, and for practitioners and policymakers striving to advance peace.

Professor Michael Leach
Politics and International Relations
Faculty of Health, Arts and Design
Swinburne University of Technology
H98, PO Box 218 Hawthorn VIC
Phone: +61 3 9214 5357

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