East Timor Independence Day at City Hall

Last Friday was the 15th Anniversary of the restoration of independence for East Timor.

The City of Greater Geelong annually host a flag-raising ceremony, acknowledging the city’s bond with Viqueque. Christian College was invited to provide the guest speaker for the event. Four Prefects, Montana Jones, Millie Lowe, Cian Foster and Ronen Jafari, spoke about their impressions, experiences and memories of their trip to East Timor six months ago, as part of their 'Our World' course in Year 11.

Montana focused on the unique story that started the College’s relationship with our close friends in Viqueque. Howard Williams, the inaugural Chairperson of the College, wanted to send dairy cows to East Timor as a gesture of good will and friendship. That was in 2004. Now students studying Our World (Global Politics) in Year 11 have the opportunity to visit Viqueque and experience for themselves the wonderful connections the College has made there. Many students would already remember Samuel, who worked at Senior School in Term 3 last year. He is the coordinator of our 'Friendship House' in Viqueque, and students could renew his acquaintance in 2018!

Millie spoke of the different projects that Christian College has supported over the years. Two primary schools have been built, a toilet block, wells, building maintenance, playground set up and repairs, scholarships to universities in Dili, teacher training and mentoring (in Timor-Leste and Geelong) and countless hours put into preparations “back home”.

Cian shared the joys, practicalities and pitfalls of running micro-teaching activities with Timorese students of all ages. It was helpful for Geelong students in the audience to learn about this, as some of them are preparing to go to Viqueque later this year and try similar activities.

Ronen fielded many interesting questions and responded sensitively and wisely. The group should be congratulated on representing themselves and the College so well. They were personally thanked by the organisers of the day, and were quizzed further during a very pleasant light luncheon at City Hall.

Cian and Ronen were asked to process with the Australian and Timorese flags during the ceremony at City Hall. They acquitted themselves and rose to the occasion beautifully.

One of our photos features Mark Leigh, the Police Captain who led the first policing group under the United Nations in Timor-Leste after 1999. He designed a curriclum and recruited police officers from around the country for training as the nation rebuilt itself.

We look forward to heading back to our friends in Viqueque in July.

Deb Singleton

East Timor Liaison Officer

    

 

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