East Timor minister receives FedUni alumni award

AN EAST Timorese minister and a young local cyber security researcher have both been recognised in Federation University Australia’s inaugural alumni awards. 

Timor Leste minister for petroleum and mineral resources Alfredo Pires received the International Alumni of the Year award. 

He said the award was not just for him, but for all East Timorese.

“We’re a small country. It means a lot to the people of East Timor for one of their own to be awarded by an Australian Institution,” Mr Pires said. 

“It goes beyond me.”

He said it was the beginning of a lot to come between Timor Leste and FedUni.

“You’ll be seeing a fair bit of Timor Leste people around here.” 

Mr Pires graduated from Ballarat University College in 1988 with an applied degree in geology, the first Timorese national to graduate with that degree. 

“The university has grown so much, and so much in the depth of its studies.”

He said their geology equipment had capabilities that most universities couldn’t do. 

“Lots of buildings have cropped up and there are lots of changes.”

Prior to his current position, he was the secretary of state for natural resources. 

Dr Robert Layton received the Young Alumni of the Year award. He completed his PhD at FedUni in 2012 and continues to working on research at the University’s Internet Commerce Security Laboratory. 

Dr Layton grew up in Bacchus Marsh, before studying a bachelor of applied computing (mathematics) at the University of Ballarat

He said it was a big honour to receive the award and it hadn’t yet sunk in.

“With the university merging it is important for them to recognise achievements of previous students.”

He completed his thesis on internet security, looking at attribution technology and who is behind cyber attacks. 

University vice- chancellor Professor David Battersby said both men were worthy recipients of the inaugural wards.