AIYA Annual 2017 is here!

Dear AIYA Members and Supporters,

The AIYA Annual 2017 is a showcase of what YOU, our fabulous chapters and members, have been up to this past year! This year, we welcomed a new chapter, AIYA Eastern Indonesia (active in both Makassar and Kupang), and energetically pursued AIYA’s mission to connect, inform and inspire young people engaged in the Australia-Indonesia relationship.

click on the cover image or download here

Even bigger and better than our inaugural issue last year, the AIYA Annual 2017 includes messages of support from Australia’s outgoing Ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, and Indonesia’s new Ambassador to Australia, Kristiarto Legowo. It features updates from our ten most active chapters, who ran everything from sports days and film nights to careers events and debates, as well as an update on our 3rd annual NAILA initiative!

This year’s AIYA Annual includes, for the first time, contributions from individual members. From a large number of submissions, we have selected three of the best pieces for your reading pleasure – Nick Dobrijevich’s story of meeting East Javanese punk band Crucial Response; Steph Pearson’s account of joint Aus-Indo efforts to support those affected by Mt Agung’s eruption; and Martha Weruing’s heart-warming story of finding her place in the Australian community. We hope you enjoy their work.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members and partners for your ongoing support of AIYA over the years.

The AIYA Annual celebrates everything AIYA has achieved in the past year, and we encourage you to take a look (you never know – you might see your face!).

Iona Main                                                              Jayne Fendyk

Chief Editor                                                                     Assistant Editor

AIYA President’s 2017 Wrap-Up

On behalf of AIYA National, I would like to extend a warm thank you to all those who have followed and supported AIYA’s activities throughout 2017.

2017 was the milestone fifth year of operations for AIYA, the peak non-government youth body that aims to connect, inform and inspire young Australians and Indonesians, and to create, facilitate and stimulate opportunities for increased bilateral youth engagement.

We have now grown to a massive team of over 120 volunteers across both countries! It is a privilege to lead this passionate and talented group of young people who are fuelled by semangat. We’re all dedicated to the growth and development of the organisation and we recognise and value the role that AIYA plays in the Australia-Indonesia space.

Our admirable communications team has done a fantastic job of keeping you all up to date via our weekly AIYA Links newsletter and via regular social media updates. #ICYMI here are some of notable highlights from AIYA’s big 2017:

  • we ran the third annual National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA), which received a record amount of entries and introduced new categories, including for teachers of Bahasa Indonesia;
  • we contributed to DFAT’s Foreign Policy White Paper with a submission which highlighted the importance of language skills, cross-cultural competency and understanding, and youth initiatives;
  • we launched the new chapter of AIYA Eastern Indonesia, with bases in both Makassar and Kupang;
  • we strengthened our chapters in Jakarta and Yogyakarta in particular, offering regular events catering to both students and the young professionals community;
  • we hosted an Australia-wide series of film screenings for the Indonesian biopic, Kartini;
  • we continued to build upon our partnerships with the Australia-Indonesia Institute, the Australia Indonesia Centre, the Australia Indonesia Business Council, CAUSINDY, ACICIS and Balai Bahasa, among many other like-minded organisations and universities;
  • we assisted AIYEP’s Australian leg with AIYA NSW hosting numerous social and cultural events for the Indonesian delegates and AIYA National hosting an impressive intern to assist our communications team; and (last but not least)
  • we welcomed in several new board members at AIYA National and experienced great succession in the chapter level executive committees.

We can’t wait to drop out 2017 AIYA Annual publication in late January to celebrate the breadth of our 2017 activities, so please keep your eye out for that in the new year!

AIYA is extremely grateful for the ongoing support of our partners and our members, without which we would not be able to continue to do what we love. We look forward to continuing to work together in 2018 and to having you involved in our events and initiatives, and we wish you all a wonderful and relaxing festive period over the coming weeks.

Salam semangat,

Nicholas Mark

President, AIYA National

Like what we do? Learn more about what AIYA membership can offer and sign up as a member today! Keen to find out more about how you can partner with AIYA or contribute to our initiatives? Please email or with any queries.

The AIYA Blog in Review: 2017

The end of the year means another chance to recap the most fascinating highlights of the AIYA Blog in 2017.

We started the year with a series of enlightening discussions with recipients of the Darmasiswa Scholarship, which saw our contributors describe the opportunity to live and study language, culture and the arts in Indonesia as ‘a huge privilege’, ‘an amazing, diverse experience’ and ‘a truly global program’.

The AIYA Blog spoke to an exciting plethora of informative and inspirational individuals, from Rob Henry, a man with an important message, to playwright Sandra Thibodeaux, to language lover Ochie Chandra DeMeulenaere. And who could forget the unique perspectives of distinguished journalist and columnist Desi Anwar in a twopart conversation.

Focussing on one element of a country is an easy way to dismiss its complexity. – Desi Anwar

Our Career Champion series saw us interview those who have achieved success in the public domain –accomplished individuals who have pursued their passion across a lifetime – including professional footballer Robbie Gaspar and academic Jeffrey Neilson. We were truly stumped after our chat with cricket enthusiast Bruce Christie!

Exploration of cultures and societies has always been a strong focus of the Blog, and this year was no exception. Diyanti Koroh and Albert Christian Soewongsono explained the traditions of Easter and Christmas respectively in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, while Jane Ahlstrand took us through the diversity of Balinese music and dance (visit the JembARTan blog for more!).

Insightful critical analysis come in the form of research from qualified academics on topics such as the dangers of plastic pollution, the science of collaboration and social equality (note that these were originally published on The Conversation).

When a local Dayak leader started negotiations by laying his sword on the table between us, I decided it was time to leave. – Jeffrey Neilson

More recently, the AIYA Blog played host to interviews with award-winning filmmakers Rosie Clynes and Michael Abimanyu Kaeng in support of the ReelOzInd! Australia Indonesia Short Film Competition and Festival, as well from some funny and friendly supporters of AIYA as part of our Member Spotlight series.

With sassy film reviews, exciting event recaps explorations of subversive pop culture and news of the launch of a new AIYA Chapter in Indonesia, the Blog has seen it all in 2017.

As per usual, this year’s content was characterised by some rather enlightening discussions and wise revelations, although I am personally humbled by the rich and genuine character of the individuals, who are either profiled on or submit to the Blog, who endeavour for goodness and empathy on a daily basis. We saw only a small proportion of these individuals on the AIYA Blog in 2017, and the Australia-Indonesia youth relationship is all the better for it.

Get published in AIYA Annual 2017!

Deadline extended to 28th of November 2017

AIYA is seeking submissions from individual members for the 2017 AIYA Annual, and we want to hear from you! We are building on the success of the 2016 AIYA Annual by this year including original material from our talented AIYA members.

Some ideas for your piece can include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Opinion pieces
  • News articles
  • Photo essays
  • Thesis excerpts
  • Book/film reviews
  • Short stories
  • Interviews

But feel free to get creative! You may even like to expand/update an earlier piece you have written for the AIYA blog. If you’re an AIYA chapter committee member, you’re also welcome to contribute a piece as an individual member (alongside the input from your chapter).

The best pieces will be selected for publication in the AIYA Annual, to be released in January 2018.

Please direct your submissions to by 28th of November, 2017.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or need some creative direction don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Iona Main                                                              Jayne Fendyk

Chief Editor                                                                     Assistant Editor

AIYA Annual                                                                  AIYA Annual                          

Indonesia Garudas Headed to Melbourne to Join 2017 AFL International Cup August 5-19

The Indonesia Garudas, a team of young Indonesian footballers from clubs, schools and orphanages across Indonesia, are heading to Melbourne to join the AFL International Cup from August 5-19 2017.

The AFL International Cup is held every three years. In 2014, Papua New Guinea won the men’s final while Canada won the women’s final.

This Sunday 6th August, the opening round of the 2017 AFL International Cup (AFLIC) will be played at Melbourne’s Royal Park. Reining 2016 AFL Asia All-Asian Cup winners, the Indonesia Garudas are ready for the 2017 tournament.

The 2017 AFLIC is comprised of 18 men’s teams and eight women’s teams competing. The men’s fixture will be played across two divisions, and 6 of the eight teams in the new Division 2 are from Asia. All teams will play a total of 4 round games with 1v2, 3v4, etc. Grand Finals to follow.

The Indonesia Garudas are set to make their mark in this year’s AFLIC after winning the inaugural AFL Asia All-Asian Cup in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in October 2016.

Indonesia Garudas Win All-Asian Cup 2016

More recently in May 2017, through sponsors, raffles, selling hats and t-shirts they raised enough money to send some players to play in China. They joined the curtain raiser match to the AFL’s first ever match in China, between Port Adelaide vs. Gold Coast.

As the 2017 AFLIC approaches, the Indonesia Garudas are keen to do one better and take on the best teams in the world.

Check out this video of the Indonesia Garudas to hear their story.

The Garudas have worked hard to get to Melbourne this year fundraising through Fundrazr to meet costs for a place to train and equipment to train with, passports, visas, flights, accommodation, warm clothes, and new playing gear.

The Indonesian Garudas will open their campaign for the Cup against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
You can catch the Garudas at the below matches:

Indonesia vs. Sri Lanka – Sun 6th Aug 9.30am, Royal Park – Western Oval
Croatia vs. Indonesia – Wed 9th Aug 11.45am,
Indonesia vs. China – Sat 12th Aug 12.00pm, Diggers Rest
Semi finals – Tues 15th Aug
Grand finals – Fri 18th Aug

The Indonesia Garudas v Team China game on Saturday 12 August in the outer-Melbournian suburb of Diggers Rest is a big game for fans of footy in Asia and is crucial for both teams if they want to challenge for the 1v2 Grand Final.

“Having seen first hand the improvement in Asia’s local players and knowing how hard these guys have been training for this occasion, I’m confident we will see a massive improvement in skills and game awareness from teams like Indonesia and China where the local development programs managed by our clubs are strongest.” – AFL Asia President Grant Keys

The Garudas narrowly defeated China at last year’s inaugural All-Asian Cup, but Team China showed their improvement at the Shanghai Cup in May 2017 beating the combined Asian Lions team that featured many of the Indonesia Garudas players.

Through AFL Indonesia, some of the Indonesia Garudas players now have jobs, teaching AFL football in local schools and orphanages. They run free weekly football sessions at over 20 schools throughout Jakarta, with plans to expand further.

For more information on the AFLIC and tickets visit their website, here.

FROM THE ARCHIVES – Cultures in harmony: Celebrating NAIDOC with Indigenous Australian and Indonesian artist collaboration

A series of events across Jakarta celebrated Australia’s rich Indigenous cultures during NAIDOC week.

National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week is a celebration of the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. Jakarta and the Australian Embassy got behind the celebrations as part of the Embassy’s #AussieBanget Diversity month, highlighting Australia’s multiculturalism through hosting a number of events including an exhibition and collaboration.

Of these events was a unique international art collaboration by Australian Indigenous artist Jandamarra Cadd and Indonesian artist Jerry Thung.

Cadd is descendent of the Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Warung people and acclaimed Aboriginal painter. Cadd’s art seeks to bridge the storytelling divide between Aboriginal & mainstream Australia. Through insightful, vibrant and emotive pieces Cadd’s art presents a peaceful voice for unity.

For the live art collaboration, Cadd worked with Bogor-born artist Thung to create an artwork representing the close connection relationships Indigenous Australian’s and Indonesian’s have had over generations. Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson said the joint artwork by Cadd and Thung followed a long history of collaboration between Australians and Indonesians.

“The relationship between our two countries is built on deep and strong personal connections between our people.

“As early as 1700, fishing communities in South Sulawesi made the voyage to Northern Australia to trade, forming new links and communities.”

The artwork bridges Australian Indigenous and Indonesian culture and land with bright colours, symbolic and mythical creatures of both lands.

Jandamarra Cadd and Jerry Thung live in action

The artwork is comprised of colourful sea turtles that swim between our two nations connecting them by sea and the dragons representative of mythical stories from across three Indonesian regions that fly between our countries. The artwork also includes traditional clouds, often seen in batik pieces, from Mega Mendung from Cirebon in West Java.

The artists shared that they wanted the artwork to depict the harmonious relationship between our two countries by the meeting of land and sea through the turtles and dragons.

As part of the celebrations, the Australian Embassy presented its Inaugural Exhibition Celebrating Indigenous Australian Cultures showing the richness and complexity of Australia’s Indigenous cultures.

In the exhibition, the Embassy brought together its collection of Indigenous art together in one place for the first time. A total of 50 artworks and photographs are drawn from three separate locations were on show at the Embassy, they included vibrant contemporary pieces to digital reproductions of bark art from the National Museum of Australia’s Old Masters exhibition.

Marsha Santoso and Albert Tjahja are on a mission to inspire youth and create social change

Driven by their vision to create a platform to share ideas and create impact, Marsha Santoso and Albert Tjahja founded the Indonesian Ideas Conference (ICON) while studying at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Marsha and Albert are the brains behind ICON. With diverse interests and experiences across non-profit, legal and private sector organisations Marsha and Albert had all the tools needed to make their vision a reality.

Albert Tjahja and Marsha Santoso (above) and at the Indonesian Ideas Conference, May 2017 (below).

We caught up with Marsha and Albert to talk about what they think lies ahead for Indonesia, and the role young people can play in shaping a better world.

Can you tell us how you developed the idea behind ICON?
We think there is great potential within every Indonesian person in Australia, and we wanted to find a way to help individuals to tap into their potential. So we came up with ICON.

ICON hopes to inspire all of its participants to leverage their ideas to make an impact in their lives and the world. We thought that the best way to achieve this would be through a conference-style event where we could invite prominent speakers to share their thoughts and wisdom with Australia’s Indonesian community.

Our inaugural ICON 2017 event was a great success. Students and young professionals heard first-hand what happens when individuals take a risk to disrupt norms, break the status quo, and undertake extraordinary action. We hope they left with the courage to do the same!

What lies ahead for Indonesia? What are your thoughts on Indonesia’s future and how is this reflected at ICON?

Though Indonesia’s economy has developed rapidly in the past years, Indonesia’s political and governance landscape is complex. This is one of the reasons we wanted to bring brave and inspiring Indonesians that want to make a difference in our country together. We believe in the power of ideas and impact that young Indonesians can have. Through ICON we provide a space to start to make these ideas a reality.

As the next generation of Indonesians, we want to contribute to society in every way that we can. One of the cornerstones of what we want to achieve at the University of New South Wales’ Indonesian Student Association of Australia (PPIA) is to equip Indonesian’s with the necessary tools and knowledge so they can to give back to Indonesia when they return home. We want young Indonesians to be ready to make an impact – be it in politics, business or culture.

Indonesian culture is an essential part of our history and our future. Indonesia is well known for its richness in arts and traditions, however, in an era of globalisation, it is easy for us to forget our roots. This is particularly the case for people residing outside of Indonesia. To celebrate our cultures and traditions, PPIA UNSW hosts various events including an Indonesian Night Market. We offer numerous of food stalls selling our traditional foods and both traditional and modern performances.

Where do you see ICON going in the future?
After seeing the success of ICON in 2017, we know that ICON has potential to grow. We will always strive to host an event that meets the needs of participants by exploring exciting topics and emerging trends.

At the core of ICON is the aim to share great ideas. With this goal – there are so many areas we can expand into as we touch on bigger and wider ranges of topics. We want to include new elements and widen the scale of ICON by hosting smaller events and workshops.

With a willingness to adjust and improve, ICON will no doubt continue to fulfil its vision of inspiring Indonesians living in Australia. Their next move is expanding ICON across Australia. Keep your eye on this space.

If you want to know more about ICON or the inspiring young Indonesian’s behind it at PPIA, you can find more information on their website.

In Conversation with Desi Anwar: Perspectives, perceptions and pathways for engagement across Indonesia and Australia

Welcome to the second-part of our series In Conversation with Desi Anwar. In this article, Desi Anwar reflects on how we as Indonesians and Australians perceive one another and opportunities for future engagement between our two countries. You can catch the first part in the series article exploring Indonesia’s journalistic freedom and the transition to democracy here.

Desi Anwar and Cass Grant at the Sydney Writers Festival

So much of the time, our perceptions are influenced by what we see in the media. If we look at current affairs, good news is bad news – and this is the news that sells. So how does that affect the perceptions that we as Indonesians and Australians have of one another?

We are all very much constrained with our own perceptions that the media feeds us.

The thing about Indonesia is – it’s an incredibly diverse and complex nation. I think, we fail to, and it’s difficult for a neighbouring country to understand just how complex Indonesia is. Indonesia is too big a country to be categorised and stereotyped by one small thing such as terrorism, natural disasters or poverty.

Focussing on one element of a country is an easy way to dismiss its complexity.

And there is no reason that people wouldn’t think things like this about Indonesia unless we come up with a much more complete picture.

This perception is a fault of the media in many ways. Indonesia is a huge, diverse and plural country and yet so often the media doesn’t include this context. Indonesia has many different ethnic groups, and yes the country is facing all sorts of issues from natural and man-made disasters, equitable development, forest and land burning and corruption. But the context is important – and unless we understand this context, we cannot begin to understand Indonesia.

Indonesians have a much better perception of Australia. One of the reasons for this is that many Indonesian parents can afford to send their children to Australia to study. This positive perception needs to be advanced on a much more intensive level.

By advancing these positive views we can help to overcome some of the other perceptions that Indonesians have of Australians from media. For example, one picture of Australians that Indonesians are presented with is of Australians in Bali. Often, this is of rowdy and disrespectful tourists and backpackers.

So, if we want to advance the stability, prosperity and development of our two countries and the relationships between them, what can we do to move past these perceptions?

There should be more of an effort to portray what we are at the end of the day – we’re neighbours.

There needs to be more effort to understand one another, we need to stop judging one another and we need to see where we can work together.

Australians need to go past Bali – there are 17 thousand islands of amazing beauty.

Indonesians are highly mobile, but when we go abroad, we’re not keen to settle in other countries, and we are forever homesick. We miss our mie instan, abon and rendang. Indonesians love their country with a genuine passion.

At the same time, as Indonesians we are our own harshest critic – especially when it comes to democracy. We are always criticising everything, the little things that don’t work, corruption, government effectiveness, lying politicians and so on. At the end of the day, Indonesians really feel that they want to be part of Indonesia’s future. We’re not apathetic and at election time – everybody turns up to vote, and it is peaceful at the polling booths.

All of these complexities within Indonesia should be understood by our neighbours – but at the same time – it’s nice that we are sort of a big secret. People have to physically visit Indonesia to realise that it is an incredible place to be. I am sure that in time, people will stop saying, “Indonesia, it’s a dangerous place we visited”, and they will start saying “it’s a dangerously beautiful place”. 

My advice to young Indonesians and Australians is that by opening up dialogue, borders, and experiences we can create a shared future.

Young people are open minded, curious and interested – they are the future of our relationship. By facilitating cultural and student exchanges we can give these young people the opportunity to experience and learn from one another.

I think that what will really shape the way that we view one another is through human contact. The best way to learn about the country is to learn about its people. Have real experiences, beyond what you see on television or read in social media or newspapers.

Indonesia is undergoing immense growth, and it is attracting large amounts of investment. Every Indonesian city has its own charm, rich tradition, culture and culinary experiences to offer. The opportunities and memories you can create in Indonesia are endless.

By crossing the border and meeting our neighbours – we can shift our perspectives and expand our perceptions by coming face-to-face with the beauty and complexity of our two nations.

We would like to thank Desi Anwar for taking the time to speak with us, our remarkable interview team of Cass Grant and Anastasia Pavlovic, and the team at the Sydney Writers Festival for making this interview possible.

In Conversation with Desi Anwar: The Transition to Democracy and Journalistic Freedom

With a career spanning over two decades, Desi Anwar is a household name in Indonesia. She is a distinguished columnist, senior anchor, journalist and the host of Insight with Desi Anwar on CNN Indonesia. The AIYA team caught up with Desi to talk about her remarkable homeland.

Source: Whiteboard Journal

In this article, the first in a two-part series, Desi Anwar gives us a unique perspective on journalistic freedom in Indonesia during the Soeharto era compared to now.

Beginning her television career in 1990, during the time of The New Order regime, Desi didn’t just witness the transition to democracy – she was centre stage reporting on it to the nation.

When I began my career, Indonesia only had one television station and the press was very heavily censored. This station was state sponsored TVRI, a public relations tool for the government reporting on development progress and telling good news stories about Indonesia. If you wanted to see the bad news about the rest of the world, you watched Dunia Dalam Berita but on TVRI – only good things happened in Indonesia.

Desi began her career with Indonesia’s first commercial television channel RCTI, owned by the son of ex-President Soekarno, and pioneered the country’s leading primetime news program, Seputar Indonesia.

At the time, Seputar Indonesia was called a “magazine” because we couldn’t talk about the “news”. We couldn’t report on politics or anything to do with religious ethnic and tribal tensions. We focused on the lives of ordinary Indonesian’s, life in Jakarta, macet, the floods and so on. And this is what made the show so popular – Seputar Indonesia was about what was important to the people. It wasn’t about what the government thinks it’s important to you. What people think is important can include economic, social and cultural issues.

Within six months of its launch the show it was a hit – they put towers up all across Indonesia so that the entire country could watch. The show gained such popularity that the government decided that if they didn’t appear on Seputar Indonesia, nobody would be watching them and they would be left behind.

We created a new way of imparting information that had never happened before.

Following the show’s immense popularity, airing four times a day, Seputar Indonesia was invited to do more formal coverage reporting on what the government was doing, they joined Presidential trips and state visits.

After seeing the success of RCTI within the next few years, Indonesia saw explosive growth in the media industry. The nation went from having only one state-sponsored television channel to having five national channels all competing for attention. At the same time, the spread of information grew as more and more Indonesian people were gaining access to new information through free-to-air television.

Over the course of the next eight years, the Indonesian people got used to seeing themselves on television and knowing what was going on around them. In 1998, when the economic crisis hit, Seputar Indonesia reported on the drop in the Rupiah from 2000 IDR to 1 USD to 10,000 IDR to 1 USD. And when the student demonstrations and riots began Seputar was airing it.

I remember one day when the students were standing on top of the Parliament building and the house speaker Harmoko, from the Ministry of Information – then seen as very much a loyalist to Soeharto and the guy who would be calling me to say “you’re not allowed to do that, and you can only do this” – actually convened with the other ministers saying that Soeharto had to step down. We were the only one that taped this.

I remember, the top management team coming down and saying “I got a phone call from the owner of the television station asking – why is Harmoko on my television telling the President Soeharto to step down by Thursday?” And I responded with, “well you know, all this time we had to air everything that came out of his mouth. Well look, I can’t control what came out of his mouth this time, but I still think it’s my duty to air it.” So they couldn’t really say anything.

I came in at a time when Indonesia was very much under an authoritarian leadership, and there was no freedom press until the reformasi in 1998. And this would not have happened without the growth in the television industry.

The point is that for television – Indonesian people felt that they owned the television and felt that they had a right to be getting the up the most up-to-date information.

And that was the process I went through in my work, the process of Indonesia’s democratisation.

I saw the birth of thousands of TV channels, hundreds of local channels, internet websites and Indonesian’s are now most active social media users in the world. Indonesia has one of the freest media across the ASEAN countries. This is something I am very proud to be part of – because it is very much the history of Indonesia.

Because, I think, I was not only in the wings but I was on the stage, sharing in that history and seeing how the nation developed and had grown into what it is now – a vibrant democracy.

I think that a lot of young people take it for granted now that we have many television stations and free press. But it’s not something that was given to us – it was not a right. It was something that we had to fight for, and it was an opportunity. And if we didn’t do something with that opportunity, it would have been a shame – because then Indonesia’s history would have taken a different direction.

In Conversation with Desi Anwar will continue next week as we explore how Indonesians and Australians perceive one another and opportunities for future people-to-people engagement between our two countries.

We would like to thank Desi Anwar for taking the time to speak with us, our remarkable interview team of Cass Grant and Anastasia Pavlovic, and the team at the Sydney Writers Festival for making this interview possible.

AIYA Links: 14 April

AIYA would like to wish everybody celebrating Easter a safe and happy holiday.

News & analysis

At the AIYA Blog