Changes to the AIYA Executive Board

Dear AIYA members, supporters and followers,

I am writing to inform you of some changes which have recently occurred to the AIYA National Executive team.

Director changes

On Sunday 26 April, AIYA held a National Council meeting at which a number of changes were made to the AIYA National Executive. Particularly:

  • Hugh Passmore resigned as Partnerships Director and will be replaced with two new directors, Sam Bashfield and Courtney Saville. Sam is a former Victoria Chapter President, and currently works at the University of Sydney’s Sydney Southeast Asia Centre. Courtney is currently living in Yogyakarta, and has had substantial professional experience in partnerships roles in Australia;
  • Bede Moore resigned as Director for the Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY). Bede’s role will not be replaced at this time as there remains two CAUSINDY Directors on the AIYA National Executive;
  • Sally Hill has moved roles from National Treasurer and Company Secretary to become Director of a new initiative which AIYA will launch this year. Sheila Hie will take on the Treasurer and Company Secretary role. Sheila currently works at ANZ, previously served as President of AIYA’s Queensland Chapter and has been involved in PPIA among other things; and
  • Ghian Tjandaputra Muhammad will take on a role as an Executive Officer for the National Executive. This is a non-Director position, but Ghian will assist and work closely with the Directors. Ghian is VP of the AIYA Victoria, and currently works at the Australia-Indonesia Centre.

The outgoing directors, Bede and Hugh, were part of the inaugural AIYA National Executive and have made a huge contribution to our organisation. Bede was the founder of the hugely successful CAUSINDY (and will continue to act as an advisor to that initiative) and Hugh played a key role in the development of AIYA’s strategy and forming some of its key partnerships. They both move on to exciting new opportunities, but will be sorely missed in AIYA.

President changes

I am also writing to inform you that, after much deliberation, I have also decided to resign as AIYA’s National President. AIYA has grown from a group of four friends, to a formidable youth-focused people-to-people organisation with chapter representatives across Australia and Indonesia.

The over 50 events during my time as President have reached thousands of young people; our 5000+ followers on Facebook have developed into a vibrant online community; our advocacy has appeared repeatedly in the press; and CAUSINDY has developed as a key event on the Australia-Indonesia calendar for young professionals and students.

Deciding to step down during a time when AIYA is at a point of great strength has been a difficult decision, but one which I feel – after three and a half years as the inaugural President of AIYA – is in the best interests of the organisation. I will remain in an advisory capacity to the organisation.

Incoming President

Nicholas Mark has been selected to take on the role as AIYA National President. Nick has a strong track record of leadership in the Australia-Indonesia people to people space. He is the inaugural and outgoing NSW AIYA Chapter President, a delegate at CAUSINDY, a delegate of the Australia-Indonesia Bilateral Dialogue, the author of an Indonesian children’s book, a talented musician (performing in Australia and Indonesia) and at the same time a solicitor in Sydney!

I and all of the outgoing and current AIYA National Executive are confident that AIYA is in a safe set of hands under Nick’s leadership, and we are excited to see what the future will bring.

Salam hangat,

Arjuna Dibley

Proud to Learn Bahasa Indonesia

People and their language is a unity that cannot be separated. Being a foreigner in Australia has allowed me to have a greater respect for those who learn Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian).

Janu out the front of Ferny Grove High School. Photo: Janu Muhammad
Janu out the front of Ferny Grove State High School. Photo: Janu Muhammad

Last year I joined a homestay program while I was living in Australia. One morning my host mother (Gwenda) and I had an engagement at Ferny Grove State High School. We planned to go there to teach Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian) and introduce Indonesian culture. I wore special clothes that day. I wore traditional cloth from Yogyakarta named jarik, blangkon (on my head), and sorjan. Alex (my host brother) and Gwenda were shocked to see my performance. “Wow you look very nice, all the students want to take photos with you,” Gwenda said. “Thank you for the compliment” I answered quietly. Then we had breakfast, special indomie (the most famous fried noodle from Indonesia) with eggs. Not even three minutes had passed and all the food was gone!

Throughout my travels Gwenda and I started to talk, she started asking questions about the usual surroundings in Indonesia and Yogyakarta. She also brought up the conversation on traditional cloth and culture in my city, Yogyakarta. A few minutes later we arrived at the school.  We walked to the administration office and asked permission to enter the language classes. Along the way a lot of girls looked at me, “What’s wrong with me?” Am I wearing the wrong costume? Gwenda said it was because I looked different.

Finally at 9:30 am we entered the language classes and met Mrs. Nic. She was a friendly teacher I thought. Then we were able to greet the students. They stood and greeted me enthusiastically “Selamat pagi Bu guru,” they said. What? I’m not a mother, I corrected them by saying “Selamat pagi Pak guru” despite the fact that I have not yet become a father. I was honored to attend these classes and meet Australian students who are enthusiastic to learn Bahasa Indonesia. Bu Nic then gave me the opportunity to introduce myself by writing my name on the board. After that we began to discuss the most frequently used word such as selamat pagi (good morning) and apa kabar? (how are you?).

The next session was a film screening. I brought a short video about Yogyakarta. We watched the video and the students began to see a real view of batik with different patterns, wayang (puppets), Borobudur temple, and others via the video. How grateful I am, in their eyes Indonesia is wonderful. After about 4 minutes, the video ended. The students began to mention things in the video. They appreciated what they saw, they seemed to take pride in studying Indonesian!

After that, what all the students had been dreading finally happened. “We have to continue with the listening test,” said Bu Nic. Firstly I helped them to memorise the names of objects in the slide show. First there was a “rat, above, many, palaces, etc.). Finally, we corrected together. All right, all students seemed cheerful as they successfully responded to the challenges set by Bu Nic. They were so excited to be learning Indonesian.

I ended the meeting that morning giving thanks and that hopefully we would meet again in Indonesia. The students applauded as a sign of gratitude. Indeed, it was an extraordinary experience for me to meet them. Teaching Bahasa Indonesia in Ferny Grove State High School that morning gave me the opportunity to introduce Bahasa Indonesia to the world. I am pleased to be able to share and meet them in class. I was grateful, because our language is becoming known in other countries. When I discuss with Bu Nic she explained, “The language (Indonesian) is very important today, especially the close relationship between Indonesia and Australia in many sectors, which ultimately requires us to learn.” There is a positive when Bahasa Indonesia is being studied in Australia. But there is a negative side when our own people (Indonesians) stop studying the language.

I thought, “Oh it turns out there are also benefits to being able to speak Indonesian for Aussies, especially for the Australia-Indonesia relationship.” Then we went home, talked about other interesting things between Indonesia and Australia. Thank you Ferny Grove State High School and the superb students!

AIYA Links: 26 June

Introducing NAILA

AIYA is proud to announce the National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA), an Australia-wide Bahasa Indonesia speech competition open to primary school to executive level speakers. Check out the AIYA Blog to find out how to get involved.

AIYA National Executive positions

Want play a lead role in AIYA’s initiatives and outreach? We are currently seeking expressions of interest for two volunteer positions on our national executive board.

In the news


Events & opportunities

Introducing the National Australia Indonesia Language Awards

AIYA is proud to announce its newest project, the National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA).

NAILA aims to reward and foster the development of Indonesian language learning in Australia at all levels.

Primary school students through to executive level speakers will be invited to participate in a national speech competition carried out in several stages, culminating with a national awards ceremony in Melbourne.

Participants will have the opportunity to showcase their language skills, discuss bilateral issues and share traditional arts, culture and musical performances with the public.

As Indonesian language classes continue to decline in Australia, NAILA hopes to incentivise language learning and reward high-level proficiency to encourage deeper communication, respect and understanding between our two nations.

Keep your eye on the AIYA jobs board for more information about upcoming NAILA committee positions, or join our mailing list to hear more about NAILA.

If you have any specific questions about NAILA please contact, Sally Hill at

AIYA Links: Welcoming CAUSINDY to Darwin

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 09.34.22

We’re thrilled to announce that Darwin will host CAUSINDY 2015, exploring the long heritage of cultural and trade exchanges between Indonesia and Northern Australia.

Interested in applying to be a delegate to CAUSINDY? Don’t miss the upcoming information nights in Jakarta, Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra.

Welcoming Ramadhan

AIYA would like to wish all of our Muslim friends and their families a safe and happy month of Ramadhan, whether in Australia or Indonesia. Ramadhan mubarak!

In the news

The Richness of Indonesian Culture: What to Know About Museum Nasional

One of the ways to learn more about the beauty of Indonesian culture is through visiting Museum Nasional (the National Museum). The National Museum encourages fun learning and has collections of Indonesian artefacts. Until 2015, you could find 141.899 Indonesian cultural artefacts at the museum that can be categorised into 7 collections, from history, ethnography, archaeology, ceramic, prehistory, geography, to numismatic and heraldic.

National Museum
The National Museum in Jakarta. Photo: Clarissa Tanurahardja

The museum is famous among Indonesian people and is often referred to as Museum Gajah (Elephant Museum) or Gedung Gajah (Elephant Building) due to the bronze elephant statue standing in the front yard. The statue was a gift from King Chulalongkorn (Rama v) of Thailand who visited the museum in 1871. People also called it Gedung Arca (Building Arca) because the National Museum contains historical statues from different periods.

The National Museum was built to preserve the richness of Indonesian culture and to encourage society to love Indonesian culture. Originally the Dutch Government founded the National Museum on the 24th of April 1778. It was developed under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The National Museum has a vision to be the centre of tourism and cultural information to enhance the intellectual life of the nation, reinforce friendship and unity among nations, and also to develop a sense of civilisation and national culture.

The ethnography collection is one of the most valuable and interesting showcases in the National Museum.It comprises of cultural objects of over 300 Indonesian ethnicities which includes miniatures of traditional houses, ceremonial objects, performing arts and traditional games and also agriculture and fishing equipment. All of the cultural objects reflect Indonesia’s philosophy Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity). Furthermore, the ethnography collection shows the cultural influences from the Hindu and Islam periods on colonial era that has been adjusted with the local Indonesian cultures.

Miniature Indonesian House
Miniature traditional house found at the museum. Photo: Clarissa Tanurahardja

The Numismatic and heraldic collection has money printing machines, coinage tools, coins, paper money, tokens which originated from the Indonesian ancient kingdoms, the colonial times under the British, Portuguese, Dutch and Japanese, also the independence period. It also has tremendous numismatic collections from other countries throughout Europe, Australia, Africa, America, and Asia. You also can find the medals, seals, and amulets that belong to the heraldic collections.

The National Museum features unique exhibitions in Building A and Building B. In Building A, the exhibition is based on the types of collections such as materials, regionalism, and science. You can find exhibition spaces like Living Textiles, Bronze Room, Prehistory Culture, into Room Ethnography Sumatra Region. While the arrangement on the new Building B is based on aspects of human culture and has the theme of “Cultural Diversity in Unity”. In this exhibition, it is classified into [1] Humans and the Environment, [2] Science, Technology and Economics, [3] Social Organisation and Settlement Patterns, and [4] Khasanah (Gold) and Ceramics.

The museum also provides public service, which prioritises efforts to enhance appreciation of cultural heritage and distribution of information of collection of National Museum to the general public, specifically to university students and children on schools. National Museum offers guidance to visitors, either to special guests (researchers or guests from other countries) and also to general visitors (university students, children, or anyone who wants to visit).

If you want to appreciate and learn more about National Museum and Indonesian culture, you can visit the official website at

AIYA Links: 12 June

In the news

AIYA Links: 5 June


The Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY) is back for 2015, and applications to be a delegate are now open. Find out how to be a part of the premier bilateral forum for youth dialogue at the CAUSINDY website.

In the news



New ideas, new speakers—and a brand new location. The Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth, CAUSINDY, returns to Australia this year, and we’re looking forward to our biggest conference yet. Read all about applying and sign up for updates at the CAUSINDY website.

In the news

At the AIYA Blog

Events & opportunities

AIYA Links: 22 May

In the news


Events and opportunities

Indonesia at the Beginning of Jokowi’s Presidency: the Birth of a New Era?

In November 2014, Michael Reardon visited Indonesia shortly after Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was inaugurated as Indonesia’s new President. This post reflects Michael’s experiences at the time and his hope for Jokowi and the current Indonesian government.

As an Australian who considers Indonesia to be his second home away from home, I watched the 2014 election contest with great interest from afar. From the moment he announced his candidacy for the presidency in mid-March, I was firmly behind the Jokowi camp and it greatly pleased me to see him elected to Indonesia’s top job in June this year, despite the considerable odds stacked against him. Compared to Australia’s increasingly vacuous and short-term focused politics, finally here is a political leader who I could place my faith in. Not without his faults of course, but the election of this unassuming former furniture salesman from the provincial Javanese city of Solo represents the consolidation of representative democracy in the world’s 4th most populous nation – a significant achievement by any standard, especially given its recent history. So what’s the word on the streets about Joko Widodo in his new, high-pressure role as the leader of this vast, diverse archipelago nation of some 250 million people?

In October 2014, Jokowi was inaugurated as Indonesia’s seventh President. Photo: Michael Reardon

Surface Impressions: Business as Usual

Arriving in Jakarta on the evening of Saturday November 15th, everything appeared normal and unremarkable, which is itself a good sign that democracy has become the status quo in Indonesia, as opposed to the long-held dream it was just some 20 short years ago. There were no street protests, civil unrest and certainly no military presence that can usually accompany general elections in developing nations. In fact, the first mention of the recent change of government came from the well-read copy of ‘Kompas’ newspaper lying on the kitchen floor of my host family’s residence. Getting out and about onto the streets of Jakarta the following day also revealed a reassuring sense of normality. Life in the capital would continue much the same as it always had – stray cats would wander along busy roads amongst Bajaj’s, whilst Ojek’s speed past and Warungs remained busy feeding hungry locals until the wee hours of the morning. The only overt signs of politics amongst the familiar humdrum were the fading posters of beaming candidates.

Rocking the Boat: Cutting the Fuel Subsidy by a Quarter

The first mention of the Jokowi presidency from the mouth of a stranger occurred more than a week later when a driver me and my friends hired in Yogyakarta to show us around, expressed his anger at the president’s decision to cut the nation’s financially reckless fuel subsidy by approximately 25% – which raised the price of fuel from the equivalent of AUD $0.60 to AUD $0.80 per litre in a single pen stroke. A very necessary and well overdue move in my opinion, but no doubt one which may have cost the president a not insignificant number of future votes. “I can’t vote for him again”, said my driver, although others could see the point of Jokowi’s first controversial domestic policy decision and supported his bold move. “We need more announcements like that” a friend explained, “Indonesia needs decisive leadership to move forward” she added, with a veiled reference to the supposed disappointment of SBY’s “squandered second term”. So with 5 years to shake up this developing democracy and land of huge potential, and set it on a faster, more sustainable growth path, Joko Widodo has made a decent start and appears to be moving in the right direction. But far from turning Indonesia upside down and inside out from the beginning, the Jokowi era it seems, will be shaped by consistent, pragmatic, action-oriented decision-making more than anything else….