From 5-8 September, 31 young leaders from Australia and Indonesia gathered in Makassar to exchange ideas about how to strengthen the relationship between our two countries as part of the Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY). This years CAUSINDY theme was “Connected by Sea”, and saw delegates exploring creative ways to improve the bilateral relationship through the maritime sphere.
CAUSINDY began with an introductory session and the delegates exploring some of the cultural and historical sights of Makassar including Fort Rotterdamn and Pantai Losari. This was followed by opening night where Pak Bernadus Djonoputro – Deloitte’s Country Head of the Infrastructure & Capital Projects in Indonesia, shared his thoughts on the Australia- relationship in the sectors of infrastructure and urban planning.
CAUSINDY 2018 included four panel discussions lead by experts in each field on the themes of Politics, Business and Trade, Costal and Environmental Sustainability and Regional Security.
As the kick-off panel, Ima Abdulrahim – Executive Director of The Habibie Center (one of Indonesia’s leading think tanks focusing on democracy and human rights), and Ian Wilson – lecturer at Murdoch University spoke for the Politics Panel Discussion, along with Uni Lubis – Editor in Chief of the IDN Times as the moderator.
This panel provided a review of the progression of domestic politics in Australia and Indonesia over the last year. This panel highlighted the importance promoting inclusive, trustworthy, and positive political participation through community awareness. Following from this discussion, the panel addressed the topic of women’s involvement in politics both in Australia and Indonesia. Overall, this panel recognised the progress that has been made in politics by both countries and concluded with a discussion about the ways gender equality can be improved going into the future.
The second panel discussion was about business and trade and included a dinner hosted by the Australian Consulate-General Makassar. This featured panel Julian Smith – PwC’s Global Transport & Logistics industry leader and director at PwC Indonesia Advisory, Vonnie Opier – the leader of ERP Oracle on Cloud project implementation under Kalla Group, and Noke Kiroyan – Chairman and Chief Consultant at Kiroyan Partners as the speakers and Uni Lubis as moderator.
The panel explored the recent announcement of the IA-CEPA and discussed what the agreement will mean for business and trade going forth including the future challenges business in both countries will face. Richard Mathews, the Australian Consul-General in Makassar also remarked about the importance recognising social responsibility in international development.
In line with this years “Connected by Sea” theme, day three kicked off with a panel addressing costal and environmental sustainability. The panel featured Rili Djohani – Co-founder and Executive Director of the Coral Triangle Center (CTC), Prof Jamaluddin Jompa – Chairman of Center of Excellent on Marine Resilience & Sustainable Development (MaRSAVE) at Universitas Hasanuddin, and Simon Baldwin – Director of SecondMuse, along with Lia Zakiyyah from the Indonesian President’s Special Envoy on Climate Change as moderator. This panel examined the dangers of coral bleaching, overfishing, climate change and pollution and the threats these issues pose to Australia and Indonesia.
Overall, the panel discussed potential solutions to environmental issues through cooperation and sustainable practices. In particular, Rili Djohani discussed the importance of awareness, engagement and education on ocean issues. Overall the panel concluded that these issues cannot be solved at an individual level – we must work together to create action to manage environmental sustainability issues.
The final panel for CAUSINDY 2018, on regional security featured Dr. Grey Raymond – Research Fellow in the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre at Australian National University, editor of Security Challenges journal, and Asia Pacific Security series editor for ANU Press, Prof. Philips Vermonte – the Executive Director of Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Jakarta as the speakers, and Natalie Sambhi – Research Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre, as moderator.
The speakers provided insights on regional security including the role of China, non-traditional security threats, the rise of Islamic State Militants and the return of foreign fighters. Overall, the panel discussed the importance of maritime space and the ways in which non-traditional threats are affecting the security of Indonesia and Australia.
Another core program of CAUSINDY this year is Engaging Future Leaders (EFL). This program involved Indonesian students engaging in.a language exchange program with Australian and Indonesian delegates, with the aim to promote cross-cultural understanding between Australia and Indonesia. This year, EFL was held at the Universitas Hasanuddin (UNHAS) and involved 7 local schools. The students and CAUSINDY delegates worked in groups to produce a flag that best represented the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia, through pictures and drawings to symbolise the relationship between the two countries.
Following on, one of the most important parts of CAUSINDY is the annual CAUSINDY Review, in which delegates work closely with an expert mentors to examine an issue in the Australia-Indonesia relationship. This years mentors included Elena Williams – a higher education consultant who served as the Resident Director of ACICIS, Dr. Lily Yulianti Farid – writer and founder of Makassar International Writers Festival, Aron Corbett – Diplomat at the Australian Consulate-General in Makassar, Mariam Kartikatresni – Director of Indonesian Development at UTS Insearch, and Fendi Liem – Indonesian Clean Energy entrepreneur.
Throughout the Review sessions, each group developed a creative solution to the issue they had identified with the aim to help strengthen the Australia-Indonesia relationship. To wrap up the final day of CAUSINDY 2018, the delegates pitch their CAUSINDY Review projects to panel of mentors, who then provided feedback towards the project.
Finally, CAUSINDY 2018 wrapped up with a Gala Dinner to reflect on the conference. Australian Consul-General, Richard Matthews, spoke about the positive role CAUSINDY is playing in the strengthening of Australia-Indonesia relations. Delegates have left Makassar with a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges for Australia and Indonesia throughout the maritime sector and a new appreciation of the history and future of Australia’s economic and cultural engagement with Eastern Indonesia.