Dr Kirsty Sword Gusmão OAM was born in Melbourne Australia in 1966. She attended Melbourne University where she completed a Bachelor of Arts Honours, majoring in Indonesian and Italian and also earned a Diploma of Education. In 1991, after working as an Administrative Secretary with the Overseas Service Bureau Australian Volunteers International, Dr Sword Gusmão joined the Refugee Studies Program at Oxford University as Assistant to the Development Coordinator. During that same year she travelled to Timor-Leste (East Timor) as the Researcher and Interpreter for the Yorkshire Television documentary production In Cold Blood: The Massacre of East Timor which covered political and social developments in the territory. From 1992 to 1996, she lived and worked as a teacher and human rights campaigner in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was during these years that her work for the Timorese independence cause intensified and brought Kirsty into contact with the leader of the resistance, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, who at that time was serving a twenty year sentence in a prison in Jakarta and whom she married in July, 2000.