Press Release: U.S. Embassy Dili Builds Youth Leadership Skills Through Mentorship Program

Dili – The United States Embassy celebrated the successful conclusion of its 2020 Mission-Driven Alumni Outreach (MDAO) program on December 11th.  The MDAO program provided Timorese youth with opportunities to be mentored by prominent alumni of U.S. government scholarship and exchange programs and lead their own community service and civic engagement activities.  During the closing event, Timorese youth groups shared the contributions this program made to their communities with VIP Timorese guests and the U.S. government’s alumni network.

The MDAO program began in August 2020 with leadership training workshops, managed by the English Language Center at UNTL, and a two-week boot camp focused on developing leadership, proposal development, and pitching skills.  30 alumni of U.S. Embassy programs worked in 10 teams, with prominent alumni mentors, to develop project ideas that would serve their communities.  In the final activity, a pitching competition, four groups won up to $4,000 each in seeds funding to realize their project idea.  The U.S. Embassy contributed a total of $11,000 for the four projects.

The four winning, youth-led projects advanced local agricultural, youth leadership, media literacy and environmental initiatives; reaching over 250 people in their communities.

Chargé D’Affaires Elias Parra praised the youth-led initiatives: “I love that all your projects have one thing in common: they were based on a vision for a better future for Timor-Leste.  That future includes a healthy environment, a vibrant economy that benefits all Timorese, strong youth leaders, and a well-educated public.  The United States strongly supports you in this goal because we share that vision.  And we believe that the success of Timor-Leste depends on the action of young Timorese leaders.”

U.S. Embassy Dili will continue to provide scholarships, exchange opportunities, leadership programs and support for youth-led community service projects that develop young Timorese who are prepared to address contemporary challenges.