Vale Basoeki Koesasi

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a pioneer in Indonesia-Australia relations and former AIC team member, Basoeki Koesasi, on Thursday 10 December 2020.

Pak Bas, as he was known, was a champion of Indonesian studies in Australia who helped establish The Australia-Indonesia Centre. He was the first Director of Indonesian Engagement at Monash University and it was in this role that his efforts were instrumental in shaping the strategy which led to the establishment of the AIC in 2013. As Senior Advisor to the AIC’s inaugural Director Paul Ramadge, Pak Bas set up the foundations for the AIC’s vast network of academic, government, and community linkages across both countries. Amongst his countless highlights, he played a critical role in establishing a leadership program for Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in facilitating closer connection between the Yogyakarta Special Region with the AIC and Victoria through a partnership with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Growing up in a family of 12 in Sumatra, Pak Bas had given over 40 years of service to Monash University. If you have studied Indonesian at Monash, you will have likely studied under Pak Bas. He joined Monash in 1974 as a tutor and then concluded as the Head of Indonesian Studies program in 2009, and then became the Director of Indonesia Engagement. During his tenure, he established a series of partnerships with various top-ranking public, private, and Islamic universities in Indonesia and globally.

His service spanned beyond academia. Pak Bas shared his insight, experience, and relationships with various community groups and governmental agencies, such as the Indonesian Community Organisation, Interplast, RACS, DVI (forensic), MU Aceh Tsunami Task Force, the Indonesian National Narcotics Body, and the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia-Pacific.

For his service in promoting greater understanding of Indonesia in Australia, Pak Bas was awarded one of Indonesia’s highest civilian medals – Bintang Jasa Pratama (Star of Service, 2nd class) by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Pak Bas’ colourful personality, good humour, and generosity of spirit inspired a generation of Indonesians and Australians from all walks of life to learn each other’s language and culture. Today, as communities in both countries connect with one another, it will be due to no small part to the sheer force of his inexhaustible joie de vivre – joy of life. For each new strand of relationship and understanding he fostered in the service of the Australia-Indonesia relationship, we will be eternally grateful.

On behalf of the entire AIC community, I offer my sincere sympathy to Pak Bas’ family, friends, and the communities that he embraced.

Monash University will hold a memorial service in early 2021 to commemorate his life and achievements.

If you would like to join the memorial service or share any memories, photos, or videos of Pak Bas, please reach out to us at

Picture of Harold Mitchell AC

The Australia-Indonesia Centre

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