‘Twas the end of winter in 2012, when two of the AIYA co-founders, Arjuna Dibley and Rachelle Cole, told Katrina Steedman and I about this cool new initiative they were starting. It was an effort to grow people to people links between young Australians and Indonesians and build a network of students and young professionals with an interest in both countries to increase the level of bilateral youth engagement – the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association. A few months later, Kat and I launched the AIYA NSW Chapter, and the rest is history.

The time has come for me to leave AIYA in the safe hands of the next generation. AIYA has been a big part of my life for many years and it has been a very rewarding journey to say the least. Over the years I have met hundreds of incredible people in both countries (including my talented wife(!), Virania Munaf). As President of AIYA NSW, the committee ran AIYA’s first Australia-Indonesia trivia night, film screenings and debate nights, amongst numerous other events from language exchanges to working holiday visa information sessions. Other notable highlights include being a delegate at the inaugural CAUSINDY conference, having a steak with Nicholas Saputra and the AADC2 crew, making an Aus-Indo dangdut track to promote the inaugural NAILA Awards, working with DFAT to launch the educational game app, Next Door Land, completing the new AIYA website, developing the scope of the AIYA Blog and our Member Spotlight series, producing the AIYA Annual publications, and brainstorming over countless committee meetings and planning weekends to keep AIYA on track for a strong and sustainable future whilst running impactful programs and initiatives to benefit the AIYA community.

 Fast forward to 2019 and there is certainly a sense of new beginnings in the air. We know who sits on the throne(s) of Westeros, the Avengers have finally defeated Thanos, Virginia Trioli is about to depart ABC Breakfast, the IA-CEPA has been signed, and both Australia and Indonesia are recovering from election fever following the victories of Scomo and Jokowi. 

And so we also have a change in leadership here at AIYA National, with the luar biasa Clarice Campbell set to take the reins to launch AIYA forward into the 2020s.

 Clarice has been an AIYA fixture since her time in AIYA VIC in 2014. She has lived and breathed the AIYA vision and mission through the years and in her time living and working in Jakarta. In the Operations portfolio at AIYA National, she has helped spearhead the expansion of our Chapter activities to hosting over 300 events each year of all shapes and sizes, involving thousands of participants in both countries annually. She has particularly led the growth of our Indonesian Chapters and has solid existing relationships with AIYA Chapters and partners. The future of AIYA is very aman indeed with Clarice at the helm, and I am very excited to see what AIYA gets up to in the years to come.

Terima kasih sebanyak-banyaknya to all those who have been a part of AIYA over the years and who continue to strive to connect, inform and inspire young Australians and Indonesians. AIYA is fuelled by semangat. Over 150 volunteers across both countries are dedicated to contributing to and strengthening this unique bilateral relationship, one young person at a time. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked through the ups and downs with many luar biasa people over the years. Most importantly, I wish to thank the current AIYA National Executive led by Clarice, Melanie Kilby, Sam Shlansky, Disty Winata and especially Sheila Hie. Sheila and I joined AIYA National at the same time and it has been an honour to work with her diligence and financial nuance behind the scenes and to witness the growth in AIYA activity over time. Last but not least, thanks to Vira for tolerating all the late night teleconferences and email sprees, and to all other partners, spouses, friends and families that support the passion of AIYA volunteers. 

So for one final time as AIYA National President, I wish all AIYA members, partners, followers and supporters a very hangat ‘salam semangat’. And in the immortal words of Keanu Reeves in John Wick 3, sampai jumpa.

Nicholas Mark

AIYA National President (2015 – 2019)