Press Release: United States and Timor-Leste Sign Scholarship Agreement for Timorese Students

May 5, 2023, Dili, Timor-Leste – In the presence of representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Timor-Leste Human Capital Development Fund Executive Director Cristovao dos Reis today signed an agreement to provide additional funding for higher education scholarships over the next five years.  Through the Human Capital Development Fund, Timor-Leste will commit at least $150,000 in 2023 to support up to three Timorese students to pursue Master’s degrees in the United States through the Fulbright program.  That funding is expected to grow in the subsequent four years as both countries continue efforts to expand scholarship offerings.

“The United States has been a longstanding partner to Timor-Leste in providing scholarships for outstanding Timorese people to pursue education and exchange opportunities in the United States,” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Tom Daley.  “As part of our commitment to growing this partnership, I am proud of our joint efforts to provide additional scholarships for Timorese students to pursue education in the United States.  We look forward to strengthening our bilateral cooperation to help advance Timor-Leste’s National Strategic Development Plan in the years ahead.” 

The scholarship agreement builds on the bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation in the field of higher education exchange signed in December 2022 between the U.S. Embassy and the Timor-Leste Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Culture.  The scholarship funding will be managed by the Institute of International Education, a global not-for-profit organization that facilitates international exchange programs, including for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.  The program enables foreign graduate students and young professionals to study and conduct research in the United States.

At the MoU signing in 2022, the United States announced it would expand scholarship offerings for Timor-Leste, including by providing nine additional slots for Timorese students and scholars to pursue education and research in the United States and for U.S. students and scholars to teach and conduct research in Timor-Leste.  Over the last 20 years, the United States has enabled over 600 Timorese people to pursue higher education and exchange opportunities, including through Fulbright, the U.S.-Timor-Leste (USTL) scholarship, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), and others.