Flinders delegation strengthens Indonesia links

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Professor Pratikno at the Indonesia symposium at Flinders University in April.

A delegation from Flinders University visiting Indonesia has further strengthened the University’s linkages with the prestigious Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and has also identified synergies between Adelaide and Yogyakarta through a meeting with the Vice Governor of Yogyakarta.

The delegation, the largest from Flinders to visit Indonesia, is led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber.

UGM is located in Yogyakarta, and the Flinders group had extensive meetings with senior staff including Professor Pratikno, UGM’s Rector, as well as with Yogyakarta’s Vice Governor, His Excellency Sri Paduka Paku Alam IX.

Professor Barber said the burgeoning collaborations between UGM and Flinders will play an important part in strengthening understanding between Australia and Indonesia, and will also contribute to growing economic and cultural links between Adelaide and Yogyakarta.

“The collaborative efforts of both institutions must be seen in the context of the similarities and contribution both institutions can play in the future of our respective communities,” Professor Barber said.

”Both cities share the strengths of a service based economy with a focus in education, the creative arts and tourism whilst still needing to transform and grow ICT and other high tech industries.”

Professor Pratikno said he views increased interaction and longer stays by Flinders staff and students in Indonesia as a means for meeting Australia’s challenge of understanding Indonesia better.

Professor Pratikno also highlighted a need to be closely watching political and policy change in Indonesia which will result in the new government reconceptualising and revitalising how Indonesian institutions contribute to and diversify its economy.

Flinders and UGM are immediately implementing student mobility projects won through Asia Bound, the Australian Government grants program supporting overseas study placements for Australian students.

Flinders academics in Law, International Studies, and Disability and Community Inclusion, with their UGM counterparts, are also organising staff and student exchange visits for 2015, and Flinders will host teachers and students from the UGM’s English Department as soon as October this year.

Identified areas of research collaboration with UGM span diverse areas such as policy and corruption (law), e-government policy (public policy), youth and the environment in post-conflict regions (population studies), and the rise of political dynasties in Indonesia at national and local level (international studies).

Progress has been made in identifying new and future dual degree programs in public policy, business and tourism, with new staff exchange opportunities in languages and language education, tourism and law.

Community development projects and closer linking of the mobilisation of students into NGOs in Indonesia and Australia in areas such as disability and community inclusion, child and maternal health, and HIV Aids / Nursing are projects that will be pursued by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences with a follow up visit planned for December.

New, multi-lateral models for collaboration are also being explored, which would link previously independent Flinders and UGM partnerships in Indonesia or in the region.

Both Professor Barber and Professor Pratikno urged academic staff to be distinct and look at models which increasingly seek to use new technologies in collaborative teaching and increased interaction between staff and students.

The two university heads also underlined a focus on collaborative work that is contextualised with the economic and social development of Adelaide and Yogyakarta.

“The Vice Governor has spoken openly of his interest in forging closer sister-city relations between Adelaide and Yogya. There is a clear role for both UGM and Flinders in realising this ambition, and the interaction between the Flinders delegation and our UGM counterparts has been an important step in this direction,” Professor Barber said.

“This recent engagement, along the University’s 40-year history of educational engagement with Indonesia, underpins our aspiration to host an Australian node of Indonesia’s Cultural House (Rumah Budaya) network, the potential for which was first raised during an Indonesian symposium hosted by Flinders in April.”

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