Following the turmoil and destruction in the wake of the 1999 popular referendum, the half-island territory of Timor-Leste emerged as the first newly independent sovereign state of the 21st century. Its democratic credentials established, the country has become a poster state for managing internal conflict and demonstrating strong policy leadership both domestically and internationally. Its windfall oil revenues from the Timor Sea have provided much-needed funding for critical infrastructure and important social transfers for pensioners, the disabled and veterans of the independence struggle. At the same time, the still very significant challenges of nation-building, of developing capable statecraft and participatory democracy mean that Timor-Leste remains a work in progress—one where popular expectations are often frustrated by the incremental pace of progress. The chapters that follow do not attempt to present a straightforward or unified narrative of these developments. Rather, they serve to highlight the richness of public debate and the diversity of views that exists on Timor-Leste’s achievements, frictions and challenges.