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Australia Indonesia Institute Annual Report 2002-03

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE

This has been a very eventful year for the Institute with significant progress in our Muslim Exchange program, a further Young Leaders’ Dialogue, a visit to Australia by senior Indonesian Editors and a wide range of cultural and other activities. We have also made progress towards developing a more systematic approach to assist the teaching of Australian studies in Indonesia.

The appalling bombings in Bali in October 2002 have inevitably had a significant impact on the relationship between Australia and Indonesia and they have necessarily had an impact on some Institute activities. On the positive side, sensitive handling by both Governments has led to this tragic event resulting in increased cooperation to combat terrorism and we pay particular tribute to the work of the Indonesian police and the Australian Federal Police.

The Institute’s initiative to promote greater understanding of the nature of Islam in Indonesia and to ensure a greater awareness in Indonesia of Islamic communities in Australia has assumed even more relevance. A series of visits by Indonesian Islamic leaders took place during the year, organised by the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne under the Muslim Exchange Program. These visits made a strong contribution to promoting better understanding of contemporary thinking among Muslim communities in both countries. The first visit to Indonesia by Australian Muslim leaders under this program is scheduled to take place shortly.

The AII was also pleased to be able to host visits during the year by two of the most senior and well-respected Islamic leaders in Indonesia. The visits by KH Hasyim Muzadi, General Chairman of the Islamic organisation Nahdlatul Ulama, and by Prof Dr Nurcholish Madjid, Rector of the Paramadina Mulya University and member of Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights, provided unique opportunities for Australians to gain a better understanding of the role and aims of mainstream Islam in Indonesia. The message of social and religious tolerance that they promoted was singularly relevant and important at this time. It was also very helpful that KH Hasyim Muzadi was accompanied by Cardinal Darmaatmadja, leader of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Indonesia and Professor Yewangoe, Executive Member, Indonesian Communion of Churches. A number of the Institute’s core activities were affected by the international and domestic response to terrorism. Travel to Indonesia became more difficult and in some instances had to be deferred. This led the Institute to concentrate more on activities which brought Indonesians to Australia, or which were able to be implemented in Indonesia by Indonesian organisations.

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Annual Report 2002-2003 Home | Statement and Goals | Chairman's message | Board membership | Programs | Funding application process | Arts and culture | Australian studies | Civil society | Education and youth | Inter-faith | Media | Administrative Overview | Appendix A: Financial statements | Appendix B: Order-in-Council