Bambang Nugroho wants to put people firmly back on the agenda in the Australia-Indonesia relationship.
A 2014 graduate from the Master of Arts (International Relations)/Master of Diplomacy at The Australian National University (ANU), Bambang was a delegate at the 2018 CAUSINDY conference.
The conference, held this year in Makassar, the capital of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province, is a platform for young leaders from Australia and Indonesia to build connections and strengthen the bilateral relationship.
Bambang applied for the 2018 conference so he could play his part in strengthening ties between the two countries.
“I wanted to expand my connection with Indonesian and Australian youth, with the long-term goal of promoting positive relations between the two countries,” he said.
Now working at an international refugee agency in eastern Indonesia, he also wanted to make sure humanitarian issues remain central to the relationship.
“While I did not represent my organisation in this conference, I wanted to share my personal experience working in the humanitarian sector with refugees in Indonesia,” he said.
“My aim was to introduce the human perspective to a topic which, too often, is strictly framed as a security and political issue by policymakers in Indonesia and Australia.”
Bambang made his decision to work in the humanitarian sector while undertaking postgraduate study at ANU.
“Through some of the courses that my degree program offered, my interaction with the teaching staff inside and outside the classrooms, and reading their publications, I became interested…in this line of work,” he said.
Developing a close connection with his lecturers has been an ongoing source of advice for Bambang.
“They were more than happy to discuss with their students not only topics that are related to their expertise but also career options, which I found very helpful for students like myself who were still keen to explore other areas of interest.
“I still maintain communication with some of my professors through email and social media.”
Connecting with the Indonesian community on campus at ANU helped him feel connected to Indonesia while he completed his studies on campus in Canberra.
“The ANU branch of Indonesian Students’ Association of Australia (PPIA – Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia di Australia) and the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra regularly organise social events, often involving Indonesian food, which helped to ease homesickness,” he said.
As for CAUSINDY 2018, the opportunity to connect with 29 other young leaders in the Australia-Indonesia relationship is already yielding results.
“I met a participant who works on child protection, which overlaps with my line of work, and we agreed to collaborate in the future,” he said.
“I believe these are the essence of the conference: to share ideas, to build connections, and to bridge differences.”
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific is a proud supporter of CAUSINDY 2018. To see all of the highlights from this year’s conference, visit our photo gallery.