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Abraham Joseph and Takako Hamaguchi, Timor-Leste: The History and Development of Asia’s Newest Nation (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014), 216 pp.

Summary
The foreword of the book has been contributed by the former President of Timor-Leste and 1996 Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, in which he characterized this book as “a pioneer publication, the first of its kind to give a post-independence socio-economic history of Timor-Leste.”

“Timor-Leste: The History and Development of Asia’s Newest Nation” is a study of how a small Asia-Pacific nation has emerged from protracted conflict and successfully navigated a path to durable peace and sustainable development. Despite early setbacks, Timor-Leste has made an amazing turnaround and today finds itself in a new era in which it will continue its advance toward the goal of long-term stability and prosperity, leaving permanently behind the past that was once marked by a descending spiral of destruction.

The book provides insights into the reconstruction of a nation rising from the ashes of destruction and its rapid transformation into a peaceful and democratic state with great economic promise. In this book, the co-authors first present an overview of the economic history of modern Timor-Leste, then explore various issues that the country has encountered in its quest for peace and prosperity, including management of oil and gas resources, promotion of agriculture and food security, its response to climate change, its work on the UN Millennium Development Goals and programs for the vulnerable, and its partnership with other nations, before concluding with a brief analysis of the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030, which is designed to guide the new nation toward the goal of building an environmentally sustainable and democratic society at the upper middle of the income ladder with extreme poverty and deprivation fully eradicated.

A number of development challenges lie ahead for Timor-Leste, particularly in strengthening human, institutional, and infrastructural capacities in the short to medium term, and in transforming the national economy from oil-based to more diversified and better balanced in the longer run. Other countries may draw valuable lessons from Timor-Leste’s experience, especially those that are emerging from as well as are currently affected by conflict and instability. Such lessons would center on the questions such as management of natural resources, empowerment of the vulnerable, implementation of transparent and accountable governance, advancement of women, and mobilization of civil society and the public in general for democratization and the national development process.

About the Authors
Dr. Abraham Joseph is an international development expert on Socio-Economic Policy and Development Practice. He has been a Senior Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste. Prior to that he was the former Chief/ Senior Socio-Economic Affairs Advisor of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). He had served in various capacities at the United Nations Headquarters, notably Office for Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS); Secretariat of the Chief Executives Board for United Nations System Coordination (CEB); Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa (OSCAL); UN/DIESA’s Division for Policy Analysis and Research; and UN Center for Transnational Corporation (UNCTC).

Before his tenure at the United Nations, Dr. Joseph worked in the Indian Planning Commission under leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh, then Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission (former Prime Minister of India) and at the India’s Ministry of Finance’s Department of Economic Affairs in New Delhi.

Dr. Joseph holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Economics. He conducted his advance research under the Japan Foundation Fellowship Program with the late eminent economist, Dr. Saburo Okita, former Chairman of the Japan Economic Research Center, Tokyo who was later the former Foreign Minister of Japan. He participated in several special training programs/courses which included organized by Folke Bernadotte Academy , Sweden on “Economic Actors in Conflict Prevention and Peace Building”; the US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California on “Promoting Livelihoods in Conflict -Affected Environments” and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Inter-Regional Project Program on “Trade Protectionism”.

Dr. Joseph has recently co-authored a book with his economist wife, Takako Hamaguchi titled “Timor-Leste: The History and Development of Asia’s Newest Nation’. His first book was on “India’s Trade with Japan: Challenges and Opportunities”. He has prepared books on African development issues published by the United Nations and he also has published articles in leading journals..

Dr. Joseph now serves on the Board of a number international/national organizations/ institutions including: Senior International Advisor, Public Service Institute, University of Oklahoma, USA; Special Advisor, Educational and Training Institute (ETI), Oklahoma, USA; Special Advisor, NITL Foundation, Timor-Leste; and Women in Sovereign Entities Inc. (WSE), USA. Dr. Joseph is a member of the American Economic Association (AEA) and Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS).

Takako Hamaguchi worked for UNICEF for sixteen years before starting her own international development and cooperation consultancy firm.