In the 2012 academic year a new organisation aimed at deepening the links between Australia and Indonesia will start operating at the ANU.

The Australia Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) was formed in August 2011 by four alumni of the College of Asia and Pacific at the ANU (Rachelle Cole, Arjuna Dibley, Fe Donaghue and Hugh Passmore). Having had the benefit of an Indonesia-focused ANU degree, the co-founders had a strong interest in Indonesia, and wanted to continue their engagement with the country post-university. However, short of getting on a plane and going to the country, the four were confused about how to do this.  They decided there must be a better way for young people in their position to continue their engagement with Indonesia, and so they formed AIYA.

The purpose of AIYA is to provide pathways for students and graduates of Australian universities to opportunities on or in Indonesia.  The centrepiece of AIYA will be a website (still under development) which will provide students and graduates with information about, amongst other things, current work opportunities, tips on where and how to network in Indonesia, and career advice from people who have forged careers focusing on Indonesia. AIYA will also hold a series of events to try and help Indonesian and Australian students and graduates meet one another. For instance, in January 2012, AIYA held a networking event in Jakarta between Indonesian alumni of Australian universities, and young Australian’s studying, interning and working in country. The event was a huge success attracting around 100 people, including members of the Indonesian Association of Young Entrepreneurs, the diplomatic community, business people and several ANU students and alumni (see PHOTOS).

AIYA is made up of a small team in Indonesia and Australia. Over the coming years, the organisation hopes to open up Chapters at Australian universities. In 2012 a group of students will start AIYA’s first university Chapter at the ANU. Jessica O’Laughlin, one of the co-founders of AIYA at ANU, who recently returned from an exchange program in Indonesia, says that “there has never been a better time to try and connect young Australian’s to opportunities in Indonesia. The country is booming economically, and yet there remain very few Indonesia-literate Australian’s; and even fewer going to Indonesia to work, or set up business in country.” O’Laughlin hopes that AIYA will play a role in changing that. AIYA at the ANU have exciting plans afoot for 2012. Nic Parsons, another co-founder of AIYA at ANU, has just returned from Indonesia where he interned at the Indonesian Constitutional Court. Parsons hopes to work with the ANU College of Law and others, to try and create an internship program for ANU students at the Indonesian Court.

If you are interested in finding out more about AIYA or getting involved, get in touch via the AIYA Facebook page, and look out for the AIYA stall at O-week 2012!