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Conference highlights Indonesia’s importance to Northern Australia

nathan franklin
Charles Darwin University (CDU) Lecturer in Indonesian Studies Dr Nathan Franklin convenes the ‘Understanding Indonesia’ conference to facilitate discussions about Indonesia’s relationship with Northern Australia.

An academic conference held today at Charles Darwin University (CDU) is set to highlight the important relationship between the Northern Territory and Indonesia.

The conference ‘Understanding Indonesia: Movers and Shakers’ is focused on understanding one of Australia’s closest international neighbours, Indonesia, at the Casuarina Campus and online on Friday, February 18.

The conference will cover topics such as international relations and regional security in the Asia-Pacific region, terrorism and protecting and safeguarding traditional knowledge in Indonesia.

It will feature academics from CDU and other universities, and keynote speakers such as the Indonesian Consul Gulfan Afero, CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman and Member for Solomon Luke Gosling MP.

Conference convenor and Lecturer in Indonesian Studies at CDU, Dr Nathan Franklin, said the conference would provide deep insights into Indonesian politics, history, law and society to improve people’s understanding of Indonesia and its importance to Australia.

“The conference will provide an academic perspective and research-based evidence about Indonesia not just for other academics, but for the community, industries and governments,” Dr Franklin said.

“CDU has many dedicated Indonesia experts, given our proximity to Indonesia and the significance of Indonesia as a fast-developing country,” Dr Franklin said.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said Australia and Indonesia have created a close and long-lasting partnership to support the prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

“The 'Understanding Indonesia: Movers and Shakers’ conference will play an important part in the Territory–Indonesia relationship and contributes to developing a deeper understanding of one of our closest neighbours,” Professor Bowman said.

“We know Indonesia is strategically very important to Northern Australia and our strategic partnership has flourished through trade, aid, engagement and a mutually shared history over many years.”

Academics from CDU, Australian National University, Coventry University in the United Kingdom and the University of Gadjah Mada in Indonesia will share their expert knowledge about Indonesia’s social, political and cultural topics through presentations and questions.

Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said Territorians could benefit from learning more about Indonesia and its vital relationship with Australia.

“Particularly for those of us in Darwin, understanding Indonesia is vital for our future. Whether it be based on considerations of economics or security, understanding each other will make both our lives better and richer,” Mr Gosling said.

“I recommend all young people study Indonesian as a second language. I also support more research to enable greater understanding and for us to take advantage of the great opportunities from this enormously important country.”

CDU last held the Understanding Indonesia conference in 2016 and continues to emphasise developing a strategic relationship with Australia’s important neighbour.

A special edition journal is aimed to be published following the conference, with academic papers published in the Journal of Contemporary Asia.

More than 160 people have registered for the conference, with about a third attending on campus and the rest online. To register to attend the free conference, visit indonesia.cdu.edu.au

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