RSIS Book Launch Seminar of “Rising from the Ashes: UN Peacebuilding in Timor-Leste” by Ms Viji Menon
About the Book
This book provides an in-depth look into the UN’s first experiment in governing and building peace in the aftermath of conflict, using East Timor as a case study. In the first part, the book examines the UN’s role after it entered East Timor in 1999 as the de facto government. It is based on the author’s first-hand experience working in the UN as it restored law and order and built a state in a country without a government, any infrastructure or human resources.
The second part of the book focuses on the current political and economic situation in Timor-Leste in the years after the UN left. The author concludes that the peacebuilding effort is still a work in progress. While Timorese leaders have built on the foundations laid by the UN, the book examines how they are trying to grapple with many remaining challenges, including the legacies of the country’s tragic past of colonization and occupation. How they deal with these issues will define the country’s future.
The book ends with a set of recommendations for Timor-Leste and for the region, namely members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
About the Author
Viji Menon has been a Visiting Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore since November 2017.
Ms Menon joined the Singapore Foreign Service in 1972, and has held senior positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in Singapore’s diplomatic missions abroad. She has served in Singapore’s embassies in Manila, Moscow, Washington and in New York as the Deputy Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations from 1994-1996. After leaving the Foreign Service, she worked for the United Nations in the UN Missions in Kosovo, Timor-Leste and Cyprus as Senior Political Affairs Officer.
Ms Menon graduated from the then University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Political Science. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 1982 and in 1983 obtained a Masters in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, U.S.A.
We mourn the sudden loss of a distinguished member of our RSIS family, Visiting Senior Fellow Viji Menon who passed away peacefully at the age of 73 on the evening of 1 Feb 2020.
Viji Menon acquitted herself well as a Visiting Senior Fellow with RSIS having joined us in November 2017. Timor-Leste was a distinct area of her research interest. Indeed, Viji had a successful launch of her book “Rising from the Ashes – UN Peacebuilding in Timor-Leste” a few months ago. Soon after, Viji started work on her next book for publication, right till she was diagnosed with cancer. As a good corporate citizen, Viji also helped to raise the standards and quality of our RSIS junior researchers through her conduct of English writing courses.
Prior to joining RSIS, Viji had an illustrious career as a diplomat advocating the interests of Singapore in our missions based in Manila, Moscow, Washington and in New York as Singapore’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1994 to 1996. With these strong credentials, Viji continued to serve the larger cause of building peace when she worked for the United Nations in the UN Missions in Kosovo, Timor-Leste and Cyprus as Senior Political Affairs Officer after she left the Singapore Foreign Service.
Viji graduated from the then University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) degree in Political Science. She was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in the US with a Master in International Public Policy.
Blessed with a very personable demeanour, Viji would always take the time to listen, empathise and show her support. Her affable manners warmed the corridors of RSIS especially for those of us at B4. Always approachable, we will miss hearing her deep soothing voice.