DILI, Timor-Leste, 26 June 2008 — On a visit here this week, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan inspired young people in Timor-Leste with a special message about using martial arts as a peaceful, unifying force.
Martial arts have historically been very popular with Timorese youths. In the past, they practiced martial arts for sport, fitness and self-defense. But with the descent of the country into violence following independence, more and more youths have been applying their skills to acts of crime and violence.Timor-Leste, which received its independence six years ago, is one of the poorest nations in the region. The government recognizes that strong youth-focused policies, as well as better education and employment opportunities, are critical to the country’s future.