Timor-Leste PHD student embarks on national research

Before embarking on a new journey as a PHD scholar at Flinders University, Iriana Freitas De Jesus Ximenes was honoured to tour the gallery of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Former Timor-Leste President, Dr. José Ramos-Horta. 

Mrs De Jesus Ximenes, a Flinders scholarship recipient from Timor-Leste, was accompanied by the former president on 25 February for a tour of the prestigious Timorese gallery containing honours and diplomatic endeavours significant to generations of academics in the country – while being encouraged to pursue high academic endeavours in Australia. 

Before arriving at Flinders to commence her PHD studies, Mrs De Jesus Ximenes was a Senior Technical Adviser for the Timor-Leste Government, after graduating with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Cumbria University in the UK. Her research examined the role of corporate social responsibility in emerging countries. She also completed an honours degree in Economics with a Major in Management International Marketing at the School of Business Management Faculty of Bina Nusantara University (BINUS). 

Flinders PHD Scholarship recipient Iriana Freitas De Jesus Ximenes with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. José Ramos-Horta.

At Flinders University, Mrs De Jesus Ximenes will be working on an Australian Research Council Linkage funded project led by Associate Professor Udoy Saikia in the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences. It aims to investigate the impacts of Australia’s Seasonal Workers Program and South Korea’s Employment Permit System on the well-being of migrant workers and their families in Timor-Leste. 

The data will inform evidence-based policies to improve temporary labour migration schemes, meet urgent development priorities in Timor-Leste, and maximise the benefits of Australian aid funded labour migration schemes. 

The project has been developed in collaboration with the Government of Timor-Leste, United Nations Development Programme, DFAT Government of Australia and International Organisation for Migration (IOM).   

Dr Ramos-Horta, who is once again a candidate in the Timor-Leste presidential elections on March 19, has praised the national value of ongoing research by Associate Saikia, who has led a team of researchers conducting evidence-based policy research in Timor-Leste for past 15 years and helped bring about significant social change in post-conflict Timor. 

“For example, the youth information and training centre in Dili, Timor-Leste, known as “Knua Juventude Fila-Liman Centre”, was established in 2017 and was based on the recommendations from Flinders University’s collaborative research (2015-2018) with the Government of Timor-Leste and the UNDP,” says Associate Professor Saikia. 

“This centre has now been recognised as a platform for youth leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship in Timor-Leste. According to the centre’s official website, more than 6000 Timorese youths have joined the centre since its establishment.” 

Associate Professor Udoy Saikia from the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences in East Timor where he has been conducting evidence-based policy research for past 15 years.

In a recent interview with Flinders University, the Programme Manager for UNDP Timor-Leste described the youth centre as a highly successful facility that is making a real change in Timorese society by empowering its youth. 

 In collaboration with the United Nations and the Government of Timor-Leste, Flinders University also led research to prepare the Timor-Leste National Human Development Report 2018. 

When this project above was completed, the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste invited the Flinders University team to present findings from its research on the wellbeing of Timorese youths to the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers and members of its national parliament, and to propose future research projects.   

This opportunity yielded 2020 ARC linkage project funding (LP200100149) and Mrs De Jesus Ximenes will be working on the research as a PhD student from Timor-Leste.   

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College of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences