A message from Eugene Sebastian, AIC Executive Director
The Australia-Indonesia Centre extends best wishes to our communities, throughout the region, to wish them health and safety in these challenging times. I wanted to let you know how the AIC has been responding to the coronavirus.
The emergence of the virus has brought tragedy upon many communities, with the story in Australia and Indonesia still unfolding.
At the least, mitigation efforts have forced a sharp adjustment for many, including the AIC, but this also offers the opportunity to learn and engage with our valued communities in different ways.
As the government ramped up its guidelines and more travel restrictions came in, the AIC moved fast and by mid- March had all its staff working remotely. Many were already comfortable with this mode, given that our people work in three locations – Makassar, Melbourne and Jakarta.
We remain committed to delivering insights and knowledge to better inform the relationship between Australia and Indonesia. We are organising our resources to ensure we provide you with even more consistent, timely and credible insights through stories and updates. I am delighted that Helen Brown has joined us to lead the Centre’s scaled-up digital communications and outreach program. Helen brings a wealth of experience from her days as a multimedia journalist with the ABC, and also from her role as Founder and Managing Director of Bisnis Asia, which develops the Asia competencies of Australian businesses.
This means delivering in a different mode, and our first In Conversation Webinar will be held next Tuesday 7th April, looking at the current economic impact of coronavirus in Indonesia. Details and registration are here. It features Professor Nunung Nuryartono, the Dean of Faculty of Economics & Management at IPB University, our Jakarta-based Indonesia Director Kevin Evans and Andhyta F. Utami, economist and Co-Founder of Think Policy Society, a community of young professionals that works for creative and evidence-based policy solutions.
Our popular short film festival and competition ReelOzInd! continues this year – perfectly suited to the times of digital connectivity with its online and collaborative model. This year the theme is energy/energi and entries open soon.
We are well used to connecting using digital communication, including and especially with our researchers spread across 11 universities in two countries. We are now taking what we have learnt about remote connectivity to make our efforts even more effective and in tune with the times. We will look, for instance, to deliver virtually some components of our cybersecurity training to 100 micro and small to medium-sized enterprises in Indonesia. The Centre’s work in the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR) will continue. This is where we partner with the Australian and Indonesian governments and our 11 leading universities on interdisciplinary projects that improve local communities. Given the travel constraints and need to keep our researchers safe, we are experimenting with new ways to conduct virtual workshops and research summits.
At a time when we are feeling the local impacts of the coronavirus, it is vital to continue to look beyond, and for neighbours to keep learning and connecting with each other – and so our work goes on.
We value your support and wish you well over the next few months.