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Indonesian Update 2004 in Brisbane and Visit to Woodridge High School

On September 3 last, the Indonesian Ambassador was invited to present a speech on Indonesia's Political, Economic and Social Prospects at the Indonesia Update 2004 convened by the Australia Education International and IDP Education in Brisbane, QLD. In his speech, the Ambassador conveyed the most recent developments regarding the Bilateral Relationship and Cooperation between the two countries. The most recent polling by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute showed that 31% of Australians consider Indonesia a major threat to underline the importance of education. The Ambassador clearly stated that Indonesia has no ill intentions against Australia and therefore, Indonesia does not pose a threat to Australia. This misunderstanding also occurred in Indonesia where, on enlistment, 95% of 6,000 potential Indonesian diplomats were found to have an anti-Australian feeling. These unfortunate statistics could have been avoided if both parties had developed tolerance which education can achieve.

For Australia, education is one of the 6 major export industries, yielding more income compared to wool and farm crops. The number of Indonesian students in Australia at present is the fourth highest after China, Hong Kong and South Korea. According to Australian Government statistics in 2003 and early 2004, the number of students declined by 10% in comparisson to the same months in 2003 caused among other factors by the increasing value of the Australian currency against the Indonesian Rupiah. Similar seminars were also held in Sydney and Melbourne, which caught the interest of many Australian educational institutions and students. The knowledge conveyed by the Ambassador about Indonesia's current situation was extremely informative to those interested in strengthening educational ties and expanding businesses to Indonesia. The Ambassador hoped that his explanation about the recent developments in Indonesia could help restore positive perceptions amongst Australians about Indonesia.

During his trip to Queensland, the Ambassador made a short visit to Woodridge High School to meet the community of students and teachers of Bahasa Indonesia and the City Councilor to encourage the longterm benefits of studying Indonesian.


H.E. Ambassador Imron Cotan presenting a speech at the Indonesian Update 2004


Winners of the Indonesian Speech Competition at Woodridge High School


Kingston Primary School students, participants of the gathering program.