Statement of support for Michael Buehler

Academics across the globe show solidarity for SOAS Indonesian politics expert, his work and academic freedom.

As Indonesian academics, foreign academics who work on Indonesia, and colleagues in the Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London, we write in support of academic freedom for our profession. It is important that we be able to research and analyze a broad range of social, political, and economic issues in an environment that is open, transparent, free, and supportive of debate and discussion.

Dr Michael Buehler’s article on New Mandala has generated sharp responses from the Indonesian government and the Indonesian media. The article raises questions about the possible role of lobbyists in President Widodo’s recent state visit to the US.

The article is based on a publicly available (open source) document on a US Justice Department website that describes lobbying services to be performed by a private contractor to assist with certain aspects of President Widodo’s visit. The contractor claimed in the document to be acting on behalf of the executive branch of the Indonesian government.

Buehler’s article raised questions about the source of funding for this lobbyist. Such questions are related to basic issues of transparency, flows of funds, and how certain private actors try to gain access to official policymaking. In countries where transparency and accountability are major problems, it is necessary and responsible to raise questions about matters like this and search for reasonable answers supported by evidence

For the media as well as for scholars, it is very important that they be able to do their work effectively. This supports transparency, accountability, democracy, and the rule of law. And it is important that responses focus on facts, substance, and the message, and not on the messenger.

Various Indonesian commentators, including academics at major Indonesian universities, have made accusations against Professor Buehler and his character. He has been called a foreign agent, an agent of the Freeport McMoran mining company, and so on. As colleagues of Professor Buehler, we know him to be a serious, independent scholar who is dedicated to research and learning.

     
1 Professor Rizal Panggabean Peace and Conflict Resolution, Universitas Gadjah Mada
2 Professor Yohanes Sulaiman Indonesian Defense University, Jakarta
3 Professor Mohtar Mas’oed Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Gadjah Mada University
4 Dr Todung Mulya Lubis School of Law, University of Indonesia
5 Dr Luky Djani Bawaslu; Asia Research Center, Murdoch University
6 Dr Yosef Djakababa Director, Center for Southeast Asian
Studies-Indonesia (CSEASI), Jakarta
7 Mustafa Fakhri, SH, MH, LLM Chairman of Constitutional Law Studies
University of Indonesia
8 Dr George Martin Sirait Atma Jaya University, Jakarta
9 Dr Ihsan Ali-Fauzi Pusat Studi Agama dan Demokrasi (PUSAD),
Yayasan Paramadina
10 Ridarson Galingging, LLM School of Law, Yarsi University, Jakarta
11 Dr Titik Firawati, Dosen, Department of International Relations, Gadjah Mada University
12 Dr Baskara T. Wardaya PUSDEMA (Pusat Kajian Demokrasi dan HAM), USD, Yogyakarta
13 Dr Muhammad Uhaib As’ad, MSi. Dosen Fisipol Universitas Islam Kalimantan Banjarmasin
14 Professor James C. Scott Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University
15 Professor Jeffrey A. Winters Department of Politics, Northwestern University
16 Professor John T. Sidel Department of Government, London School of
Economics and Political Science
17 Professor Dan Slater Political Science Department, University of Chicago
18 Professor Edward Aspinall Department of Political & Social Change,
Australian National University
19 Professor Richard Doner Political Science Department, Emory University
20 Professor Richard Robison Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University
21 Professor Geoffrey Robinson Department of History, UCLA
22 Professor Paul Hutchcroft Professor of Political and Social Change,
Australian National University
23 Professor R. William Liddle Political Science Department, Ohio State
University
24 Professor Teri Caraway Political Science Department, University of
Minnesota
25 Professor Michele Ford School of Languages and Cultures, University of Sydney
26 Professor Alasdair Bowie Political Science Department, The George
Washington University
27 Professor Jamie Seth Davidson Department of Politics, National University of Singapore
28 Professor M. Steven Fish Political Science Department, University of
California, Berkeley
29 Professor Tuong Vu Director, Asian Studies Program
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
University of Oregon
30 Professor Thomas Pepinsky Department of Government, Cornell University
31 Professor Robert Cribb Department of Pacific and Asian History,
Australian National University
32 Professor Aurel Croissant Political Science Department, Heidelberg
University, Germany
33 Professor Jan Pierskalla Political Science Department, Ohio State
University
34 Professor Amy L. Freedman Political Science & International Studies,
Long Island University and Columbia University
35 Professor Laleh Khalili Middle East Politics, Department of Politics
and International Studies, SOAS, University of London
36 Professor Gerry van Klinken Senior Researcher, KITLV, and Southeast
Asian History, University of Amsterdam
37 Professor Marcus Mietzner Department of Political & Social Change,
Australian National University
38 Professor Julia C. Strauss Chinese and Comparative Politics, SOAS,
University of London
39 Professor Yuhki Tajima Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service,
Georgetown University
40 Professor Adrian Vickers School of Languages and Cultures, University
of Sydney
41 Professor John Roosa History Department, University of British Columbia
42 Professor Jemma Purdey Faculty of Arts, Monash University
43 Professor Stephen Chan, OBE Professor of World Politics, Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
44 Professor Jacques Bertrand Department of Political Science; Director, Masters in Asia-Pacific Studies
Munk School of Global Affairs (Asian institute), University of Toronto
45 Professor Lawrence Saez Head of Department, Department of Politics,
SOAS, University of London
46 Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies; Chair, Centre for Iranian Studies, Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
47 Professor Charles Tripp FBA Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East
Department of Politics and International Studies
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
48 Associate Professor of International Relations, Leslie Vinajamuri Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
49 Dr Dirk Tomsa Department of Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University
50 Dr Margaret Scott Wagner School, New York University
51 Dr Robin Bush Senior Research Fellow, The Asia Foundation
52 Dr Jacqui Baker School of Management and Governance, Murdoch University
53 Fabio Scarpello Asia Research Centre,
Murdoch University
54 Dr Matthew Nelson Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
55 Dr Philip Lorenz Institute for Political Science, Heidelberg University
56 Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
57 Dr Ward Berenschot Royal Netherlands Institute of South East Asian
and Caribbean Studies, Leiden
58 Dr Carlo Bonura Department of Politics and International Studies,
SOAS, University of London
59 Dr Elizabeth Chandra Keio University, Tokyo
60 Dr Mulaika Hijjaz Department of Southeast Asia, SOAS, University of London
61 Dr Thushara Dibley School of Languages and Culture, University of
Sydney
62 Dr Bill Hurst Department of Politics and International Studies, Northwestern University
63 Dr Kevin W. Fogg Faculty of History and Oxford Centre for Islamic
Studies, University of Oxford
64 Dr Kikue Hamayotsu Department of Political Science, Northern
Illinois University
65 Dr Steve Heder Research Associate, Department of Politics and
International Studies, SOAS, University of London
66 Dr Lee Jones Department of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University, London
67 Dr Antje Missbach Monash University
68 Dr Kerem Nisancioglu Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
69 Dr Manjeet Ramgotra Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Politics
and International Studies, SOAS, University of London
70 Dr Yuka Kobayashi Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
71 Dr Mark Laffey Senior Lecturer in International Relations
Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London
72 Dr Matthew Eagleton-Pierce Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London
73 Dr Bjoern Dressel Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University
74 Dr Jacqui Hicks Jacqueline Hicks, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian
and Caribbean Studies, Leiden, Netherlands.
75 Dr Meera Sabaratnam Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
76 Dr Phil Clark Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
77 Dr Hagar Kotef Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
78 Dr Hedi Viterbo Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
79 Dr Rahul Rao Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
80 Dr Michael Farquhar Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
81 Dr Rochana Bajpai Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
82 Dr Enze Han Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
83 Dr James B. Hoesterey Religion Department, Emory University
84 Dr Bhavna Dave Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
85 Dr Alastair Fraser Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
86 Dr Kristin Surak Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS, University of London
87 Dr Terence Lee Department of Political
Science, National University of Singapore
88 Dr Patrick Ziegenhain Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
89 Dr Kathleen Woodward Associate Professor Political Sciences and International Affairs, University of North Georgia
90 Dr Julie Chernov Hwang  Department of Politics, Goucher College
91
92 Julia Suryakusuma Independent scholar and Jakarta Post columnist, Jakarta
93 Mirza Jaka Suryana Writer, Jakarta, Indonesia
94 Made Supriatma Researcher and Freelance Journalist, IndoProgress
95 Benny Subianto Harvard Kennedy School
96 Evan A. Laksmana Researcher, Centre for Strategic and International
Studies, Jakarta
97 Nathanael Sumaktoyo Ph.D student, University of Notre Dame


Download a PDF version of this statement here. Read a version in Bahasa Indonesia here