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Australia-Indonesia Institute Annual Report 2000-2001

Annual Report 2000–2001 home | Mission statement | Chairman’s statement | Board membership | Media | Youth and education | Arts and sport | Civil society | Commercial and the professions | Administrative overview | Appendix A: Financial statements | Appendix B: Order-in-Council

CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT

John ReidThe year 2000–2001 involved a range of activities through which the Australia–Indonesia Institute (AII) continued to build people-to-people and institutional links between Australia and Indonesia and promote greater mutual understanding and tolerance. In view of the ongoing changes to Indonesia’s political, economic and social environment, the Institute’s work remained an important adjunct to the Australian Government’s management of bilateral relations.

Although education remained our largest program, others such as our expanding civil society program and recently strengthened Australian Studies program continued to provide new and flexible mechanisms for bolstering broadly based links between Australia and Indonesia. AII programs generally provided important support to the development of democracy in Indonesia.

The AII’s commitment to helping build durable, wide spectrum Australia–Indonesia relations means that it will continue to work constructively and innovatively with government agencies, institutions and individuals in both countries. Looking forward, the Institute is keen to support in future projects that fulfil its objectives through mediums such as the Internet.

During 2001–2001, the Institute held one of its tri-annual board meetings in Indonesia. This took place in Surabaya in March 2001. Ahead of the board meeting, a four-day program — organised with commendable efficiency by Ambassador Smith and his staff — was conducted in Jakarta. The Board was delighted with the level of access afforded it, thus serving to make the visit one of the most successful it has undertaken.

The Board’s Jakarta program included calls on the President, Vice-President, the DPR Chairman and senior DPR members, the Minister for Education, senior government officials and representatives from the media and NGOs. A briefer program in Surabaya was highlighted by a constructive meeting with the Deputy Governor of East Java and a roundtable on Australian Studies involving rectors from East Java universities.

An especially encouraging outcome of the Indonesia visit was the positive views expressed by interlocutors about Australia and the bilateral relationship. This indicated to board members an ebbing of the strains that in recent years have characterised the bilateral relationship.

Throughout 2000–2001, the Institute continued to pursue another of its key objectives — the development of an informed and culturally aware media in each country. In addition to the maintenance of its journalist scholarship program (under which four Australian journalists travelled to Indonesia for language courses) and ongoing support for the placement of Australian journalists in Indonesian media outlets and Indonesian journalists in Australian outlets, the AII funded the initial phase of a project to provide Australian journalism students with in-country Indonesian language training and industry placements.

Education has remained a high priority for the Board. Education projects (excluding Australian Studies) accounted for around 46 per cent of program funds in 2000–2001, which illustrates the significance board members attach to building links and mutual understanding through the education process. The Institute is also very alert to the importance for people-to-people links of an effective and encompassing alumni network. It has provided substantial support to the Australian Alumni Association of Indonesia (IKAMA) to help it develop a database, its web site and other tools for developing and tracking membership. I was pleased that the AII Board was able to be represented at IKAMA’s annual meeting in Jakarta in June 2001.

In 2000–2001, we received an impressive array of applications for AII sponsorship. Although this often made difficult the Board’s task in selecting one project for funding over another, it highlighted the depth of community interest in Australia and Indonesia in working with the AII to build strong neighbourly links. The AII has also upgraded its Internet site to provide Indonesians with details of grant conditions and other relevant information in Bahasa Indonesia. The Board is hopeful that this will lead in 2001–2002 to an increase in applications from Indonesia.

I would also like to thank the representatives of other Australian government agencies for the support and advice they have provided the Institute throughout the year. In particular, I would like to thank AusAID for the assistance that enabled the AII during the year to provide 585 Indonesian students with scholarships to complete their studies at Indonesian universities.

I wish to thank my fellow Board members for their commitment and enthusiasm over the past year. I particularly want to thank former Board member, Mr John Dauth LVO, whose commitment to and support of the Institute was greatly appreciated, especially bearing in mind the difficult situations the Institute was negotiating during that time. I will be completing my three-year term as Chairman on 24 November 2001 and I would like to warmly congratulate Mr Philip Flood AO on his upcoming appointment as the next Chairman. He will bring to the job considerable expertise and it is comforting to know that I will be handing control of the Institute to very capable hands. I would also like to welcome two new board members, Mr Rowan Callick (as the Board’s media representative) and Mr David Ritchie (as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade representative). Both are senior and respected figures in their respective fields and their additions to the Board can only enhance its already impressive complement. I wish them an enjoyable and productive tenure.

Finally, I want to make note of the support the Board has received from the Secretariat Director and Project Officer and Australian Cultural Counsellor in Jakarta, all of whom have continued to provide valuable advice and administrative assistance.

John Reid AO

Annual Report 2000–2001 home | Mission statement | Chairman’s statement | Board membership | Media | Youth and education | Arts and sport | Civil society | Commercial and the professions | Administrative overview | Appendix A: Financial statements | Appendix B: Order-in-Council