The papers included in this volume were first presented at the Timor-Leste Studies Association's Understanding Timor-Leste: A Research Conference, held at the National University of Timor Lorosa'e (UNTL) in Dili, Timor-Leste, 2-3 July 2009. More than 100 East Timorese and international delegates presented papers over two days. One distinctive feature of the conference was its organisation into four language streams; with papers presented in Tetum-Dili, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia and English. This approach reflected the linguistic diversity of Timor-Leste, and proved a great success. This volume of edited papers reflects this approach. The editors would like to thank the East Timorese Ministry of Education, UNTL, Swinburne University of Technology, the Technical University of Lisbon and Victoria University for making the conference possible. Thanks also to Susana Barnes for assistance in the production of this collection. We particularly thank the authors of these papers, and hope that this volume will assist students and academics in Timor-Leste, and also those outside the country who wish to better understand the challenges facing this young nation, and its people's hopes for the future.