AIYA’s Executive Partner, the Australia-Indonesia Centre hosted their third Australia-Indonesia Leaders Program in late May. The signature initiative brought together 28 leaders from both countries, representing government, business, media and academia. The ten-day program aims to engage a highly influential network of emerging leaders from both nations in a program that builds relationships, understandings and the skills to develop solutions to shared national challenges while exploring new partnership opportunities.

While in Sydney, the delegates participated in a day of leadership training at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC), a strategic unit of the University of Sydney. Too often during bilateral dialogues there is a lack of input from youth, and little consideration of the youth perspective in Australia-Indonesia issues. SSEAC was very keen to address the youth perspective this year, and engaged AIYA to run the panel session Supporting Future Generations, which revolved around the theme of bilateral economic diplomacy.  


AIYA President Nicholas Mark, Arjuna Dibley (Associate, Baker & McKenzie), Wendy Hartanti (Senior Tax Manager, PwC), and Amelia Lemondhi, translator. Photo: AIYA

AIYA’s panel, chaired by AIYA President Nicholas Mark, included Wendy Hartanti, Senior Tax Manager at PwC, Amelia Lemondhi, Indonesian Translator and Interpreter, and AIYA’s Founding President, Arjuna Dibley, Associate at Baker & McKenzie.

Following a presentation from Nicholas Mark about the work and progress of AIYA, the panel discussed their respective careers and their role in the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship. Participants were then tasked with analysing and reporting back on: 1. The perception of youth working in their industry, and 2. What advice or strategies would they give to young people who wish to work in their industry in the bilateral relationship.

One participant identified early in the discussion that many young Indonesians do not have access to tertiary education, and even more do not complete their high school certificate. Arjuna stated that while this is a long-term systemic issue facing Indonesia, various programs, such as the University of Sydney Business School’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation program help people who do not have access to formal education.

Many innovative ideas were elicited, including strengthening collaboration between education and industry in the Australia-Indonesia domain, thus enabling students to have hands-on work in their industry prior to graduation. On the theme of education, another group suggested Australian and Indonesian tertiary institutions establish joint education and research centres, where students and academics can work collaboratively on common issues. The Australia-Indonesia Centre embodies many of these ideals, promoting research partnerships within defined clusters.

Participants also noted networking opportunities between Australian and Indonesian young professionals need to be bolstered to facilitate cross-cultural leadership. The group identified conferences, blogs and networking events as possible avenues to facilitate bilateral connections. AIYA’s chapters around Australia and Indonesia actively organise networking events, and their members contribute to the AIYA Blog and run the annual National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA) program. The Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY), which organises a yearly conference for 30 emerging leaders from both countries, also contributes to this goal by aiming to create a platform for youth dialogue, shape new ideas about the bilateral relationship and act as a catalyst for change.


AIYA Panel with Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s Deputy Director, Elisabeth Kramer (second from right). Photo: AIYA

At the conclusion of the panel session, on the first of their ten-day tour of Australia, the AIC Leaders Program participants were given a chance to consider how they can support the future generations of the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship. We very much hope that they continue to support and work together with organisations such as AIYA, to ensure the youth voice is heard in this important international relationship. AIYA would also like to thank the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and the Australia-Indonesia Centre for the opportunity to present this important panel session.