Indonesia’s Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, visited Flinders on Friday (October 24) to join a celebration of the University’s strong engagement with Indonesia.
The only university in South Australia to teach Indonesian language and cultural studies, Flinders also has extensive teaching and research programs with government agencies and tertiary institutions in Indonesia.
The visit came just two days before new Indonesia President, Joko Widodo, named prominent Flinders University alumnus, Professor Pratikno (Rector UGM), as Minister of State Secretary (Menteri Sekretaris Negara).
Professor Pratikno received his PhD in Social Sciences from Flinders in 1997.
Earlier last week, Mr Kesoema stood alongside Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the inauguration of President Widodo. The Ambassador is a strong advocate of the benefits of ‘soft diplomacy’ in building good international relations.
Mr Kesoema and the Indonesian Attaché for Education and Culture, Professor Ronny Noor, were guests of honour at Indonesia di Flinders (Indonesia at Flinders).
The event celebrated the relocation of the University’s Indonesian language program to the School of Humanities and Creative Arts, and also provided a showcase for staff and post-graduate students across schools and faculties to present a comprehensive picture of Flinders’ current engagement with Indonesia.
Flinders Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Nancy Cromar, who attended the event, said Flinders placed great importance on its Indonesian links, both on- and off-shore.
“Through the teaching of dual degrees and intensive short courses as well as numerous collaborative research projects, Flinders is intensifying its long-standing relationship with Indonesia,” Professor Cromar said.
“In addition to making a contribution to Indonesia’s strategic priorities and capacity-building through our courses, an increase in exchange programs and scholarships is allowing growing numbers of Flinders students to widen their cultural understanding by travelling to Indonesia to study.”
Flinders is a partner in Adelaide’s annual INDOfest, the largest single celebration of Indonesian culture in Australia, and at other times the presence on campus of a Pendopo (a Javanese cultural pavilion) offers a local focus for Indonesian cultural activities. Flinders has more than 200 current Indonesian students and close to 1000 alumni in Indonesia, many of whom hold positions in government, academia and the professions.
During their time in Adelaide, the Australian-Indonesian Association of South Australia also arranged for His Excellency and Professor Noor to visit a secondary school where Indonesian language is taught and to tour the Regency Park campus of TAFE SA.