ANU Indonesia Project News no 20, July-December 2015

During the reception for ANU Indonesia Project 50th Anniversary, 30 July 2015 at The Great Hall, University House.

During the reception for ANU Indonesia Project 50th Anniversary, 30 July 2015 at The Great Hall, University House.


The outstanding highlight of the Indonesia Project calendar in the second half of 2015 was the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Project in both Canberra and Jakarta.

A week of events was held at the ANU, with the focus on July 30. About 200 people, from universities, NGOs, the government sector, the private sector and the media, attended the celebration event. Among the attendees were dignitaries such as the Secretary of DFAT Mr Peter Varghese AO, Indonesian former vice president Professor Boediono, former Trade Minister Professor Mari Pangestu, and former Finance Minister Dr Muhammad Chatib Basri. The event was chaired by Professor Veronica Taylor, the Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific.

Mr Varghese highlighted the role of the Indonesia Project in facilitating dialogue and collaboration between Australian and Indonesian academics and policy makers. Professors Boediono and Pangestu, and Dr Basri all briefly reminisced about their engagement with the Project.

Australia’s Indonesia Project: 50 Years of Engagement, an historical account of the Indonesia Project, written by Colin Brown, was launched by ANU Chancellor Gareth Evans.

Also marking the 50th Anniversary, the journal Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES) released a special, anniversary issue in August. It has three commemorative papers whose authors each analyse the 50 years of development in Indonesia: Thomas Lindblad on foreign direct investment; Mari Pangestu, Sjamsu Rahardja, and Lili Yan Ing on trade policy; and Peter McCawley on infrastructure issues.

Prior to this event, a series of seminars and other events was also held:

At the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics Seminar, on 28 July, Chris Manning delivered a talk, Where is Indonesia in regard to the Lewis ‘Turning Point’ – and does it matter?

On the evening of the same day, the 2014 Update book, The Yudhoyono Presidency: Indonesia’s decade of stability and stagnation (editors: Edward Aspinall, Marcus Mietzner, Dirk Tomsa), was launched by Professor Hugh White from the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

A special Indonesia Study Group Seminar, attended by more than 100 people, was given by Professor Mari Pangestu, entitled  Indonesia: challenges ahead for future sources of growth, development and competitiveness

Dr Muhamad Chatib Basri presented a Public Lecture entitled Not a trap, but slow transition? Indonesia’s pursuit of high income status.   More than 150 people attended the event.

To mark this milestone, there were also Advisory Board Meetings, both for the ANU Indonesia Project and the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES). Both these meetings took place on the morning of 30 July.

Professor Boediono held a conversation session with Indonesian students studying in Canberra and its surroundings.

The 50th Anniversary events were well covered in the media.

More photos of the week of celebration and the ANU Indonesia Project’s 50 year timeline are available on the ANU Indonesia Project’s Facebook page, here and here.

» find out more about the events (including links to Professor Pangestu’s  and Dr Chatib Basri’s presentation files).


Another highlight of the past semester was the 2015 Indonesia Update, Land and development in Indonesia: searching for the people’s sovereignty.

2015 Indonesia Update, Land and development in Indonesia: searching for the people's sovereignty

2015 Indonesia Update, Land and development in Indonesia: searching for the people’s sovereignty


This 33rd Update examined land law and its administration in decentralised Indonesia. From large-scale land acquisitions in Merauke, Papua, to asset ownership in the villages of Sulawesi and Java, to the tenure conflicts associated with the oil palm and mining booms in Kalimantan and Sumatra, the presenters considered Indonesia’s many land challenges. They also examined the environmental implications of land management.

The first part of the Update discussed recent political and economic developments in Indonesia. The Political Update was presented by Burhanudin Muhtadi, a PhD candidate in political science at the Department of Political Science, ANU, and discussed by Eve Warburton, a PhD candidate from the same department. Muhtadi said Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi’s) first year showed a weak president caught between oligarchic politics and his hopes for reform.

The Economic Update also reviewed the Jokowi presidency during the one year period, with an additional note on inclusive growth. It was presented by Arief Anshori Yusuf from Padjajaran University and discussed by Vincent Ashcroft.

The Keynote session, Land use and land law: the big picture, was presented by Nancy Lee Peluso from the University of California in Berkeley. Her presentation was entitled From forests and farms to plantation and mines: struggles over land and labor control in Indonesia. It was followed by a presentation on Indonesian land law by Adriaan Bedner from Leiden University.

There were four sessions discussing various aspects of land and development in Indonesia, namely environmental and customary framing of land tenure; urban and infrastructure development; agriculture, land tenure and livelihoods; and large-scale land acquisitions and smallholder development.

» find out more about the Update (including videos of all sessions and links to nine media articles).

You can also access the podcasts and presentation files from the ANU Indonesia Project website.

You can also follow the hashtag #IndoUpdate15 to see all social media coverage on the 2015 Indonesia Update in Twitter or Facebook.

More photos from the Indonesia Update are available on the ANU Indonesia Project’s  facebook page.

The event was attended by approximately 400 participants over the two day period, of which a third were female. Most participants were postgraduate students, academics, government officials and the general public from Australia and Indonesia.

On 21 October, The Lowy Institute for International Policy in cooperation with the Indonesia Project hosted the 2015 Indonesia Mini Update in Sydney.

»find out more.


On 27 October 2015, the Indonesia Project and its long-standing partner, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held another significant event at CSIS in Jakarta to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Project. About 80 people attended this Anniversary Celebration and Update Book Launch, from academics to researchers, policy makers, Australian and Indonesian diplomats, and ANU alumni.

His Excellency Paul Grigson, Australian Ambassador for Indonesia, speaking during ANU Indonesia Project 50th Anniversary Celebration and Book Launch in Jakarta.

His Excellency Paul Grigson, Australian Ambassador for Indonesia, speaking during the ANU Indonesia Project 50th Anniversary Celebration and Book Launch in Jakarta.


Paul Grigson, the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, congratulated the Project and noted that it has been important to the relationship between Australia and Indonesia.

Professor Boediono, former Vice President of Indonesia, launched the book written to commemorate the Project’s anniversary, Australia’s Indonesia Project: 50 Years of Engagement, and also reminisced about his involvement with the Indonesia Project during its early years under Professor Heinz Arndt, its founder.

In his remarks, Professor Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s Minister of Finance, also congratulated the Indonesia Project on its 50th Anniversary, and talked about his personal involvement, and also highlighted the High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD), facilitated by the Indonesia Project and involving key Indonesian Ministry of Finance and Australian Treasury officials, among others, as the only avenue where policy makers, scholars and academics from both countries can engage in intensive dialogue over recent economic issues.

Dr. Rizal Sukma, Executive Director of the CSIS and co-host of the event, Professor Armida Alisjahbana,  Professor Ari Kuncoro, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business, University Indonesia, Dr. Asep Suryahadi, Head of the SMERU Research Institute (and ANU alumnus), and  Dr. Riwanto Tirtosudarmo of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (also an ANU alumnus) also congratulated the Project and spoke about  their involvement over the years and about the Project’s significant contributions.

Kate McLinton (Project Manager, Indonesia Project),  Professor Chris Manning (former Indonesia Project Head), and  Professor Ross McLeod (former BIES editor) flew to Jakarta specially to attend the event. Ross McLeod announced the start of a fundraising effort by the Project to endow a Chair in Indonesian Economic Studies at the ANU. The effort will target the private sector both in Australia and in Indonesia.

In addition to economists, the event was also attended by Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar (Indonesia Institute of Sciences), Ismid Hadad (former Executive Director of Kehati Foundation) and numerous ANU alumni.

The event was followed by a cocktail reception.

» find out more. Watch a video of the event here and press coverage here.

The book can be purchased from the CSIS book shop and by sending an email to


ANU Indonesia Project proudly sponsored and supported the Understanding Indonesia Conference at Harvard University

ANU Indonesia Project proudly sponsored and supported the Understanding Indonesia Conference at Harvard University


Another notable event took place on 21 November, when three members of the ANU Indonesia Project spoke at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Indonesia Program‘s first national conference—Understanding Indonesia: Revealing the Mysteries of Asia’s Inscrutable Giant—in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In doing so, they did much to promote the Project in the US, where there is a growing interest in Indonesian studies.

At the one-day event, which the Project sponsored, Arianto Patunru (one of the editors of the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies), M. Chatib Basri and Mari Pangestu (members of the Project’s advisory board) joined other specialists in discussing different aspects of Indonesia’s development with more than 150 participants, including academics, policymakers, business representatives and members of the public.

Topics discussed included economic and political trends in Indonesia, Indonesia’s business ecosystem, research and education and human development.

Ben Wilson, the managing editor of BIES, also attended, providing information about the Project and the journal, as well as distributing copies of the Project’s 50th-anniversary book, Australia’s Indonesia Project: 50 Years of Engagement.

»find out more.  You can also read the Ash Center’s summary of events.



  • On Wednesday 26 August 2015, the Indonesia Project hosted the Preparatory Meeting for the High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) in Canberra with Professor Suahasil Nazara, Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency, Ministry of Finance, and his team, and representatives from The Treasury, ANU academics and PhD students.

» find out more

  • Indonesia Study Group

» find out more

  • Forum Kajian Pembangunan

» find out more

  • The annual BIES Economic Dialogue was conducted in Bandung (23 November) and Jember (24 November) this year. The topic this year was the corporate ownership structure in Indonesia, based on an article in the April 2015 edition of the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES) by Richard W. Carney and Natasha Hamilton-Hart, entitled What Do Changes in Corporate Ownership in Indonesia Tell Us?    

» find out more

  • The  Young Scientist Forum Roadshow  (YSF)  was held between 30 November and 3 December 2015, with the ANU Indonesia Project supporting a series of presentations by young Indonesian scientists at the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS, Surabaya), Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM,  Yogyakarta) and Universitas Indonesia (UI, Depok). The YSF is designed to encourage new leaders in scientific research from Indonesia, and is a collaboration with Alumni PERMIAS (the association of Indonesian students in the USA).

» find out more

  • In December 2015, Budy Resosudarmo from the Indonesia Project gave lectures at two universities in Central and Southeast Sulawesi. The topic was “Research on Regional Development in Indonesia: New Directions and Challenges”.

Budy was also invited to be a discussant at a seminar conducted by the Central Bank at Palu.  He discussed policies that potentially could improve agricultural productivity.

» find out more

» find out more

  • The Indonesia project was delighted to participate in the 2015 Hadi Soesastro Prize award ceremony, which took place at Parliament House in Canberra on 21 October 2015. Congratulations to Rumayya Batubara from The University of Western Australia and Wenny Bekti Sunarharum from The University of Queensland for winning this Prize, awarded by the Australian Government.

» find out more



  • The ANU Indonesia Project hosted three Visiting Fellows during the second half of 2015.

» find out more

  • On Wednesday 21 October 2015, the Indonesia Study Group held a special session for presentations by the recipients of the Research Travel Grants – a grant program, managed by the Indonesia Project, to encourage scholarly interests in Indonesia among Australian students at honours and masters levels.

» find out more



A summary  of ANU Indonesia Project outreach during the second half of 2015 is available from the link below.

» find out more



  • Call for proposal for the ANU Indonesia Project and SMERU Research Institute 2016/2017 Research Grants. The grants will provide funding between AU$5,000 to AU$15,000 for research projects of up to 12 months. Applications close on 31 March 2016. Further details and information is available in this post.
  • The Forum Kajian Pembangunan Road Show will be held in March 2016 in Banda Aceh and in two other cities.
  • The HLPD in Jakarta will take place in March. Based on the preparatory meeting and subsequent discussions between the Indonesia Project and Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance, the topics will cover industrial policy, fiscal policy and reform, as well as the international economy.
  • The  Sadli Lecture will be delivered by Mari Pangestu (CSIS & University of Indonesia) and Chris Findlay (Adelaide University).  The title will be “The Service Sector as Drivers of Change: Indonesia’s experience in the ASEAN Context”. The date is yet to be determined, but it should be held in April.


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