Australia-Indonesia Institute Annual Report
Mission statementChairman's statementBoard membershipMajor activitiesMedia programYouth and sportArtsProfessionsIndonesian languageAustralian cultureCivil Society ProgramAdmin overviewAppendix AAppendix B  

CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

The activities of the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) for the four years covered in this report highlight the important profile the Institute has achieved in both Australia and Indonesia through support for a range of programs. The Institute's traditional core programs, covering education, culture, media and youth, continued to be highlighted but fundamental changes and achievements have been recorded beyond these fields.

The most important change in the Institute's policy has been the creation of a new Civil Society Program in response to Indonesia's changing circumstances. Under this program, from August 1998, activities involving human rights, assistance to women's groups, trauma counselling, legal aid and law reform, the environment, and electoral reform have been supported. In addition, 1175 undergraduate students at the University of Indonesia and Gadjah Mada University were provided with financial support to enable them to continue with their studies in very difficult economic circumstances.

John Reid

John Reid

Media relations between Australia and Indonesia received strong support from the AII. The series of senior editors meetings to develop dialogue between Australian and Indonesian editors also continued to facilitate expert briefings on political and economic issues in both countries. The April 1999 visit by senior Australian editors to Jakarta included a meeting with President Habibie and leading political figures from both government and opposition. Media scholarships also played an important part in improving media coverage of Indonesia in Australia and increasing Australian media awareness of Indonesia. During the four years from 1995 to 1999, 27 journalists were trained in Bahasa Indonesia, creating a valuable pool of expertise on which the Australian media can draw.

The Australia-Indonesia Institute continued to fund an extensive Australian Studies program. That program included support of the Australian Studies Centre at the University of Indonesia, an Australian Lecture Series and assistance to the Australian Alumni Association of Indonesia (IKAMA). 1999 saw the launch of the Australian social geography book, Geografi Australia, a valuable textbook developed with the cooperation of the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, and distributed widely in Indonesian schools.

The Indonesian Studies program also included fellowships, exchanges and a number of education programs such as support for the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). These programs helped large numbers of Australian university students deepen their knowledge of Indonesian language and culture. The AII also funded the development of an Indonesia web site, which will provide a primary and secondary school Indonesian education focus.

The Institute's core Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program provided valuable opportunities to youth from Indonesia and Australia to experience first-hand the cultural, economic and political environment of each other's country. Alumni from the program are now increasingly represented in diplomacy and government, and are bringing depth and understanding to the bilateral relationship in their fields.

Through its visual and performing arts program the Institute cultivated an appreciation of the quality, diversity and sophistication of the visual and performing arts in the two countries. The Institute funded a broad range of performing and visual arts projects, including research and development of films as well as development and touring costs of small performing and visual arts projects. Major grant projects during 1999 included Richness in Diversity, which opened in Jakarta on 15 April 1999, and Indonesian Gold: Treasures from the National Museum, Jakarta opened by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Downer, at the Queensland Art Gallery on 25 March 1999.

Following the turbulence in East Timor and the elections in Indonesia, the Institute's Board has given careful consideration to what its program and policy objectives for the next year should be. We are proceeding cautiously for our objectives are long-term ones and we wish to achieve positive results in the process of restoring relations between our two countries.

I want to express my appreciation to the board members who have made energetic and thoughtful contributions to the Institute's work. We have had great support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and its people here and in Indonesia.

I would also like to express my appreciation to the former Indonesian Ambassador, Mr S Wiryono. He was a great supporter of the Institute and its work and represented Indonesia with dignity and good humour at a time of tension and difficulty between our two countries.

We were grateful for his open mindedness and equanimity in testing circumstances in our national relationships.

I want also to say thank you and farewell to Paul Kelly, Kaye Schofield and Geoff Forrester, whose terms of membership expired in recent months. To Harold Clough, Dr Christine Fletcher and Elizabeth Hallet we extend a warm welcome.

John Reid signature

John Reid AO


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