Bella Galhos is a human rights activist.
She was an activist in the pro-independence movement in Timor-Leste. She then gained asylum in Canada but returned to her home country in 1999 to help rebuild Timor-Leste.
She is the co-founder of Leublora Green School (LGS), Timor Leste's first green school, which teaches children sustainable agriculture practices and good nutrition. She also mobilized local youth and women and farmer’s groups to upgrade their organic agricultural skills to produce healthy local food.
Bella Galhos had has been awarded with several international recognitions for her noble work such as Woman of Courage 1999 of Canada, Phenomenal woman Award 1999, Best Speaker Award 1997, UN Freedom and Human Right Award 2003, Impact Hero 2015 Award, and Bella has also been nominated for Unsung Heroes Wisdom of Action Award USA 2017.
Every day Bella works hard along side her partner and their two year old daughter to help others and be part of change-makers in her community.
Catharina Williams-van Klinken
Dutch-born linguist Catharina Williams-van Klinken has been fascinated with Tetun since she began learning Tetun Terik in Betun, West Timor in 1993 as part of her PhD studies. She would walk from house to house with betelnut and tape recorder, talking with elders and children, rulers, farmers and teachers. In 1999 she worked in Suai as an electoral officer for the referendum on independence. There, in public meetings and tension-filled conversations, she started making the huge adjustment to Tetun Dili.
For the last thirteen years she has been director of the Centre for Language Studies at Dili Institute of Technology (DIT). This has grown from a one-person operation to having a staff of thirty language lecturers, teaching both local and international students. Catharina is active in many areas of language, including research, teaching, writing and translation.
On weekends Catharina enjoys getting out with her husband Rob and with friends into Timor’s beautiful countryside and exploring its magnificent coral reefs
Ines is a co-founder of Estrela+ an NGO that advocates for the rights and needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in Timor-Leste.
Ines is a prominent and vibrant speaker who has represented people living with HIV in Timor-Leste in Australia, Thailand, Bangladesh and South Africa. Her vision is to see that people living with HIV in Timor-Leste are free from stigma and discrimination.
2016 Doris Duke Artist and Fulbright scholar, groundbreaking multilingual vocalist-composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and producer JEN SHYU (徐秋雁) has been named “one of the most creative vocalists in contemporary improvised music” (The Nation).
Born in Peoria, Illinois, to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents (her mother having been born in Dili), Shyu is widely regarded for her virtuosic singing and riveting stage presence, carving out her own beyond-category space in the art world. She has worked with saxophonists Steve Coleman and Anthony Braxton as well as trumpet artist Wadada Leo Smith and pianist Vijay Iyer, and has produced six albums, with her duo album with bassist Mark Dresser making her the first female and vocalist as band leader on Pi Recordings.
Her most recent album Sounds and Cries of the World on Pi was voted in the “Top 10 Best Albums of 2015” by The New York Times and The Nation, among others. A Stanford University graduate dedicated studying and advocating for traditional music around the world, she first visited East Timor in 2010 to research vocal traditions throughout six of Timor's district and returns often to continue this research, and last year was able to collaborate with the Boneca of Ataúro in a series of performances organized by filmmaker-photographer David Palazón.
She has also done extensive research on vocal, instrumental, and dance traditions in Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, China, and most recently, Japan.
Jenny is a conservationist, educator and scientist. She came to Timor-Leste in January to work for Blue Ventures, a marine conservation NGO, on Atauro Island.
She is passionate about community-driven marine conservation and has worked towards this vision since she finished her degree in Marine Biology in her home country of Scotland. After Jenny completed a MSc in Marine Environmental Management she worked in several locations in the Indo-Pacific region, gaining experience in ecotourism, conservation, and small-scale fisheries management.
Shaun Wilkinson is a computational biologist who is trying to make sense of the jumble of genetic juice known as the ocean.
A Kiwi living and working in Timor-Leste, Shaun is analyzing the genetic signature of seawater to catalogue the many different species inhabiting the coral reefs of Atauro, Dili and Manatuto. This involves developing new machine-learning algorithms to decipher the billions of DNA molecules that are continuously released by marine flora and fauna during processes such as metabolism and reproduction.
After gaining his PhD from Victoria University of Wellington in 2015, Shaun was awarded a prestigious Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Royal Society of New Zealand. This enabled him to continue his research while accompanying his wife Alice on her diplomatic assignment in Dili.
Shaun’s research could reduce the need for expensive and laborious visual surveys, and may provide a practical monitoring solution to rapidly detect changes in the ecosystem arising from global warming and other human impacts
Tony is a talented painter, sculptor and multi-media artist. He grew up in Dili under Indonesian occupation, which has had a profound impact on his arts practise. In 2010 Tony graduated from the prestigious National Art School in Sydney, Australia with a Bachelor of Fine Art.
He has exhibited in Australia, Switzerland, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. He also exhibited work at the 15th and 16th editions of the Asian Art Bienniale in Bangladesh. In 2014 he participated in the Darwin Fridge Festival and Melbourne’s Gertrude Street Projection Festival where his collaborative work ANIMATISM won the 2014 Walker Abercrombie Judge's Award. In 2015 Tony created work for the Darwin Festival as part of the Asia in Darwin Residency program. This year Tony represented Timor Leste in the Mind the Gap exhibition in Melbourne, Australia addressing the current political, social, economic and cultural gap between Australia and Timor-Leste.
As a founding member of the Arte Moris Free Art School, Tony has facilitated many visual arts workshops, both in Dili and in the districts. In 2014 he volunteered as lead visual arts producer in Timor-Leste’s first ever public arts festival ARTE PUBLIKU. His recent focus has been on street art where he works with communities to create colourful, bold murals to foster harmony in urban spaces
Virginia Soares is an exemplary team leader who works with 60 other women from Ataúro to utilize their sewing skills to create the beautiful brand of Boneca de Ataúro.
She was born and raised in Ataúro. After finishing high school, without a place to work in Ataúro, Virginia and a couple of her friends got together to design and sew clothes. Under the teaching of Ester Piera, a Suisse designer, Virginia and her friends learned to master their sewing skills using intricate and unique details we see today from products of Boneca de Ataúro.
Virginia currently holds the position as the President of the Cooperative Boneca de Ataúro