PRESS RELEASE

President José Ramos-Horta announces the inaugural
International Dive Photo Contest of Timor-Leste
October 9 -15th  2010
www.underwatertimorleste.com

President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, José Ramos-Horta, has announced the inaugural International Dive Photo Contest of Timor-Leste. The event will run from the 9th   till the 15th of October, 2010 and is a unique 4 day photography competition, which has a lucrative prize pool of USD$ 30000. Professional scuba divers and photographers from around the world are being invited to participate by President Ramos-Horta. The objectives of this initiative include showcasing Timor-Leste’s tremendous scuba diving potential and to promote its’ marine-based tourism to the region and beyond. The contest will also serve as a mechanism to provide education on the environment, bio diversity and many marine based opportunities that the pristine waters of Timor can offer the people of Timor-Leste.

H.E. Dr. J. Ramos-Horta will act as patron of this event as well as being one of the judges on the contest’s panel. President Ramos-Horta said of the event, "It is with great pride and pleasure that I welcome participants to our first underwater photography contest. Timor-Leste is blessed with some of the richest and most unexplored waters in the world. I hope that this event will draw attention to our great marine biodiversity, our tremendous potential for scuba diving and also the development of diving as a tourism industry here in Timor-Leste. Most importantly this initiative will help us protect our precious seas, reefs and their inhabitants for our future generations."

The President’s initiative will be launched by the event’s director, Mr. Sean Ferguson-Borrell at the Asian Diver Expo in Singapore on Friday the 9th of April. “ADEX is the largest scuba diving expo in the region” Mr. Ferguson-Borrell said,” this event is a fantastic opportunity for us to launch our website, www.underwatertimorleste.com and for Timor-Leste to draw attention to its phenomenal aquatic life – this is why we have used the words; untouched, unexplored and unbelievable to describe the underwater environment of Timor-Leste.”


Asian Diver Magazine has also come onboard as the Official Event Media Partner of the Dive Photo Contest and as a result many scuba diving communities around the world will learn about Timor-Leste and its tremendous marine resources. In conjunction with this initiative the organizers will also produce “The Underwater World of Timor-Leste”, a multi media exhibition for the people of Timor-Leste.

The exhibition will feature multi lingual explanations on marine ecology, habitats and the animals that dwell in and around them. With visual aids ranging from locally produced artistic renditions, high resolution panel printing, projections/film areas (with appropriate subtitling) and even small aquariums the exhibition will allow interaction in ways never achieved before in educational platforms here in Timor-Leste. It is planned that school groups will be able to visit the exhibition, which will open on September  the 9th of 2010.



For further information contact:
Media Officer for President of the Republic Mr. Joel Pereire on +6707230160
The Dive Photo Contest Director, Sean Borrell on +670 7382208 / borrellsean@hotmail.com

To register  please contact the event organiser:

Mr. Sean Ferguson-Borrell
Office of the President
borrellsean@hotmail.com
+670 7382208

Visit the Dive Photo Contest Website at www.underwatertimorleste.com







NEW UPDATE!


Three lucky winners were drawn over the three days of the Asia Diver Expo in Singapore. They can look forward to all inclusive packages to participate in Timor-Leste's First International Underwater  Dive Photo Contest - Congratulations!


In addition ADEX was the official opening of registrations  for photographers to participate in the Dive Photo Contest. Photographers are encouraged to contact us as the limited spots available will soon be snapped up.

We are also very proud to announce the confirmation of another judge to help us choose the best shots for the contest's prize catagories. Jonathan Meur is the editor for Asian Diver Magazine and looks at thousands of photo to make the small selection that ends up in print for the magazine.  Also a keen diver, Jonathan is very excited at the prospect of visiting Timor-Leste for the first time and seeing for himself how amazing our diving is.
PRESS RELEASE

President José Ramos-Horta calls for a halt
on an environmentally destructive public works project.
Timor-Leste International Dive Photo Contest
October 9 -15th  2010
www.underwatertimorleste.com

President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, made a site inspection to a public works project in the Taci Tolu area of the capital of Timor-Leste, Dili, yesterday. The site in question will bring much needed assistance to the local population in water management, especially during the wet season. This year’s late and heavy wet season, which has caused considerable damage to public property, is a prime example of the reasons why rain management across the country is of vital importance.

However this particular project will destroy one of Asia’s best scuba diving sites if it is allowed to go ahead. Currently excess water collected by the project will be diverted directly into the ocean. What makes this site so important is the rarity of what is alive beneath the waves. Many rare and endangered species, such as the dugong, or “sea cow” and the incredibly rare “mimic octopus”  are found in this bay, which has attracted scuba enthusiasts from across the globe to visit Timor-Leste. Direct revenue injected into the local economy by scuba divers visiting this site are estimated to be in excess of USD$ 200,000 per year. The expected fresh water and the associated pollution washed out to sea through the completion of this project will destroy this site completely and forever.

H.E. the President of Timor-Leste personally visited the site and has attempted to halt the public works progress until a satisfactory solution has been decided. “It is incredible that we, as a nation, could destroy such an important site, which is only a short drive from the Government Palace, out of complacency and lack of planning. The government must protect our natural resources for the future generations - we must be seen as proactive, diligent and sensitive to sites which we may not even understand the value of now.” The President went on to say “ It is imperative that the relevant bodies in government come together and find the correct solution for this challenge. Why would we destroy an area that will provide substantial income to our economy?”

The site concerned has also been identified as a location to be used in the First International Dive Photo Contest of Timor-Leste  in October this year. The event will run from the 9th   till the 15th of October, 2010 and is a unique 4 day photography competition, which has a lucrative prize pool of USD$ 30000. Professional scuba divers and photographers from around the world are being invited to participate by President Ramos-Horta. The objectives of this initiative include showcasing Timor-Leste’s tremendous scuba diving potential and to promote its’ marine-based tourism to the region and beyond. The contest will also serve as a mechanism to provide education on the environment, bio diversity and many marine based opportunities that the pristine waters of Timor can offer the people of Timor-Leste.



For further information contact:
Media Officer for President of the Republic Mr. Joel Pereire on +6707230160
The Dive Photo Contest Director, Sean Borrell on +670 7382208 / borrellsean@hotmail.com
Visit the Dive Photo Contest Website at www.underwatertimorleste.com
NEW UPDATE!


As the first Dive Photo Contest of Timor-Leste draws near photographers from around the world are preparing themselves to lock lenses, up for grabs is a prize pool of USD $30000 in cash and some unique awards that will be presented by  the President, H.E. Dr. J. Ramos-Horta, himself.

The competition is also very proud to announce new sponsorship partnerships with the following groups:

Divers Alert Network is providing safety bags to each photographer

Scuba Symphony of Malaysia will be ON SITE during the competition to assist with gear maintenance

Cannon Cameras will be providing additional gift vouchers for catagory winners

Suunto will be providing their latest dive computers for winners

Beyond the prizes the contest is very proud to announce the latest addition to our judging panel, Mr. Juergun Fruend - welcome Yoggi and many thanks for your support of our event.

You can also check out some of the dive sites at google earth through the links provided on this website. We look forward to greeting you all in October.