Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Talking Points Seminar: Health and development challenges in ‘post’-conflict Timor-Leste

12 December 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

burned out offices

The IAS is delighted to welcome Anthony Zwi, Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the IAS, for this talking points seminar on 'Health and development challenges in ‘post’-conflict Timor-Leste: Stories and Strategies'. Respondent: Kate Roll (IIPP)

This event is free.

Event Information

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

Timor-Leste gained its independence in 2002 after centuries as a Portuguese colony, decades of Indonesian occupation and repression, and its own traumatic struggle for liberation. The challenges of consolidating the peace, building the nation, promoting transformative development, and extending health gains remain deep nearly 20 years later.

The paper will reflect on the context and achievements of Timor-Leste and will shed light on the development challenges it faces, many of which are shared with other least developed countries. Illustrated with photographs and data, the paper will raise questions about the importance of documenting development processes – the stories and strategies, the difficulties and limitations, the constraints that underpin the data.

What lessons can be drawn from what may appear to be unique experiences? How might future practitioners, policy makers and community members build their health system, promote peace and development, and secure a more positive future in the aftermath of conflict?


Professor Anthony Zwi was born and educated in Johannesburg, South Africa. After qualifying as a medical doctor, he left South Africa for the UK and in 1987 obtained an MSC in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and qualified subsequently also as a UK public health specialist, having trained both in the public health service (NHS) and at University College London. With an interest in global health policy he worked at the LSHTM where he expanded his interest in some of the least developed countries facing major challenges in the aftermath (or presence) of conflict, rights abuses and the legacies of colonialism and maldevelopment.

In 2001, Professor Zwi migrated to Australia and has been at the University of New South Wales, one of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, since then. He was formerly in the School of Public Health and Community medicine but is now located in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, reflecting his broader interests in global development and policy. His research interests are diverse with a focus on conflict and disaster and how communities and systems re-establish themselves.

Image: Burned out offices, Timor-Leste after referendum on Independence. Photo: Anthony Zwi

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