Understanding Indonesia – and helping them understand us

EVENT REMINDER: Today 6pm. When your closest neighbour has almost 10 times as many people as you, is growing stronger and more powerful by the day, and is troubled about some of your attitudes, that is the time to pay attention.

Once upon a time Indonesia was a country we observed from 5 miles high as we flew from Sydney to Europe, hoping that the volcanic ash from active volcanoes would not penetrate the aircraft’s engines. Defence planners are worried about possible aggression from what they called the “near-north”.

Today Indonesia is a vibrant democracy with an economy that is growing fast–twice as fast as Australia’s. Its population is 242 million, making it the world’s 4th biggest country. It is an archipeligo scattered over 17,500 islands. Indonesia has currently the world’s17th largest economy, but it is expected to overtake Australia within the next 2 decade or so

So what should we know about Indonesia and what can we do to put it right?

A team from the Australian Institute of International affairs in New South Wales has just returned from a mission to Indonesia. Apart from undertaking an extensive study tour of the country, we were able to meet with government officials at senior level, leaders of major think tanks, and our own Australian ambassador and his hard-working staff.

Today, we will report our results to you.

Colin Chapman and Geoff Miller will detail the politics of Indonesia as it approaches an election next year, assess the economy, and discuss relations with Australia, which, while good, are not quite as good as they should be.

Brian Everingham will discuss, in a video interview, some of the concerns we found about the environment, particularly in protected national parks. Other members of our group will also contribute, and a short film will be provided by Kathryn Savery.

We hope to be able to provide some Indonesian snacks on this occasion. It will be an evening not to be missed.

Entry fee: AIIA NSW members: $15.00, Senior/student members: $10.00
Visitors: $25.00; Student visitors: $15.00

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