22 September 2015
Students studying the Indonesian language were given an extraordinary opportunity yesterday at The University of Western Australia during an informal private roundtable meeting with former Indonesian President His Excellency Professor Doctor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Dr Yudhoyono spoke directly with the 20 local students and enjoyed the discussion in Bahasa Indonesia, applauding them for their fluency in the language and active interest in the Indonesian language and culture.
“I always encourage Australian students to learn about Indonesian culture and speak Bahasa,” Dr Yudhoyono said. “In my view, this surely will go a long way to understanding each other better and enhancing friendship and cooperation among friends in Indonesia.
“It is very important because sometimes relations among countries, nations and people can be further enhanced and strengthened if each side understands one another’s culture and language. Cultural appreciation is important in enhancing people to people contact.”
Hosting the event, UWA Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Professor of Indonesian Studies, Professor Krishna Sen said the students were very fortunate to have the experience.
“How many students get such an extraordinary opportunity to speak directly with, and meet a man who was the leader of the third most populous democracy in the world and who led prosperity and peace for that nation for a decade?” Professor Sen said.
The students were from UWA and Murdoch University. Some have had a period of study abroad through the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Students (ACICIS).
Dr Yudhoyono is visiting Perth this week to accept an Honorary Doctorate from UWA and to discuss his appointment as a UWA Visiting Professor in International Relations and Senior Fellowship with the Perth USAsia Centre.
The Perth USAsia Centre is an international policy think tank based at UWA that focuses on Australia’s role in the emerging Indo-Pacific region and the Australia–USA–Asia strategic triangle.