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Jakarta Post

Timor Leste deserves to join ASEAN

Ainaro, Timor Leste   /   Mon, August 7, 2017   /  08:36 am
Timor Leste deserves to join ASEAN Children in Timor Leste. This small country of some 1.2 million people is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of democracy in a once-turbulent region. (*/Okky Madasari)

Bright blue election boxes and indelibly inked index fingers. These are just some of the vivid colors of democracy that come to mind as I think back to something momentous that just happened in Southeast Asia. When contemplating the future of the vibrant Southeast Asian region, the tiny island nation of Timor Leste is unlikely to be top of-mind among the top diplomats who have gathered in Manila this week for the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Yet this small country of some 1.2 million people is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of democracy in a once-turbulent region, and provides a powerful model for an Asia and Pacific that has encountered some worrying backsliding in recent years when it comes to democracy. Indeed, as ASEAN celebrates five decades and faces new challenges, it is worth pausing to consider who’s in and who’s out of thi...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.