Indonesian teachers and school/college principals representing 12 government and non-government schools in Canberra enjoyed an informative and entertaining dinner organised by BBI (ACT) at the Indonesian Embassy on Friday, 22 November 2019. The purpose of the dinner was to celebrate the achievements of Indonesian teachers in ACT schools who tirelessly foster Indonesian language and culture learning in their classrooms. Amongst the more than 50 guests who attended the dinner were the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, HE Bpk Kristiarto Legowo, the founder of the ACICIS program, Professor David Hill from Perth, and Dr Paul Thomas from Monash University who has edited a new book on the history of learning Indonesian in Australia entitled, Talking North. The dinner also provided an opportunity to mark the efforts of Indonesian Language Teaching Assistants (ILTAs) who give up time during their study at Canberra’s tertiary institutions to help Indonesian teachers in the classroom.

An acknowledged expert on Indonesian grammar and communication, Associate Professor Novi Djenar from Sydney University, delivered a thought-provoking talk on the impact of recent government regulations elevating the status of Bahasa Indonesia as a language in formal usage in Indonesia and in international settings.

The dinner featured a delicious Indonesian meal accompanied by the traditional Sumatran dances, Tari Piring and Tari Rantak performed by the Borobudur Dance Group based in Canberra. The dinner, the fifth such event organised by BBI (ACT), successfully advanced BBI’s mandate to promote Indonesian teaching and learning in Australia.

Guests at BBI (ACT) Dinner

Tari Piring performed at the Dinner

Dr Novi Djenar, Chair of the Department of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney


Guests at the dinner to honour Indonesian teachers in the ACT, Canberra, Friday 23 November 2018

BBI (ACT) hosted a dinner on Friday, 23 November 2018 for teachers of Indonesian to honour their achievements in fostering the learning of the Indonesian language and culture at schools in Canberra and surrounding districts.  Around 50 guests, comprising school principals, Indonesian teachers and Indonesian Language Teaching Assistants (ILTAs) from 12 government and non-government schools in the ACT and surrounding region, attended the dinner at the Indonesian Embassy.  The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, HE Mr Kristiarto Legowo, was the guest of honour.

In welcoming guests, the Chair of BBI (ACT), Mr Heath McMichael, said that it was a sad fact that no matter how long Indonesian programs have been in place, schools would continue to face competing demands for teachers and resources.

“BBI (ACT) is of the view that the task of upholding Indonesian language programs in ACT schools needs to be shouldered by many: by national governments in both countries through funding initiatives to overcome language learning deficits; by education authorities and school administrators who aim to strengthen Asia-literacy in the class room, and by the parents of students who recognise the benefits that come from an understanding of the language of our nearest northern neighbour”, Heath said.

At a time when resources for teaching Indonesian at Australian schools and universities are coming under increasing pressure, it is important to demonstrate practical support for Indonesian language programs in schools.  Heath said BBI (ACT) was doing its bit by organising intensive Indonesian language and culture workshops for teachers and seeking joint accreditation with the Australian National University (ANU) as a qualified provider of professional learning and development for teachers.

Dr Elly Kent from the ANU’s Indonesia Institute delivered an interesting presentation on how various art and youth exchange programs between Australia and Indonesia offered opportunities for motivating Indonesian learning at all levels.  Canberra-based practitioners of traditional Indonesian dance and Javanese gamelan performed during the dinner which featured a sumptuous three course meal of Indonesian dishes.

Heath said that BBI (ACT) was keen to see more school students learning Indonesian in the ACT.  BBI (ACT) would continue to work with teachers, schools, the ACT education authorities and the Indonesian Embassy to stimulate interest in taking up the Indonesian language.

Indonesian language teachers honoured at gala Canberra dinner



Indonesian Language Teaching Assistants in Canberra presented with Certificates of Appreciation, 20 October 2017

Primary and secondary school teachers of Indonesian were honoured at a gala dinner hosted by the Balai Bahasa Indonesia (BBI-ACT) at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra on Friday, 20 October 2017. Teachers and School Principals from at least 15 ACT government and non-government schools attended the dinner which an opportunity to exchange classroom experiences teaching Indonesian to students in Canberra. Certificates of Appreciation were handed out to 10 Indonesian Language Teaching Assistants who give up time outside their own academic studies in Canberra tertiary institutions to teach in Canberra schools under a MOU between the ACT Education Directorate and the Indonesian Embassy. Guests were treated to a three-course Indonesian meal, Balinese gamelan music performed by local enthusiasts and traditional Indonesian dances. They heard a keynote address by Bapak Halim Nataprawira from the Queensland Department of Education who delivered an insightful presentation on the use of formal versus informal Bahasa Indonesia.

BBI (ACT) Chair, Heath McMichael, told guests it was important for young people to develop an understanding of Asian cultures and languages in an increasingly Asia-centric world. Asia-literacy was a vital commodity for those contemplating carriers in commerce, overseas education and travel in Asia. To promote an awareness of Indonesian culture and language, BBI (ACT) organised activities for members and the general public, for example Indonesian film nights, book club events and study tours of Indonesia for teachers of Indonesian.

Heath said that BBI (ACT) was keen to see more school students learning Indonesian in the ACT. BBI (ACT) would continue to work with teachers, schools, the education authorities and the Indonesian Embassy to stimulate interest in taking up the Indonesian language.




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABBI (ACT) was honoured to be recognised on Indonesian Independence Day by the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra for promoting the learning of Indonesian in the Canberra and for contributing to friendly relations between Australia and Indonesia.  BBI (ACT) looks forward to further cooperation with the Embassy and interested community members who are seeking to deepen ties between our two countries.

170817 BBI (ACT) Certificate of Appreciation

“Send 10,000 young Australians a year to Indonesia to learn Indonesian,” says security analyst Professor Hugh White

One of Australia’s leading security analysts, the ANU’s Professor Hugh White, has taken the Australian government and people to task for their neglect of Indonesia (The Age, May 29, 2012). Australia is too preoccupied with “a kaleidoscope of negative images” he says, and is “missing the big story.” The big story is that Indonesia’s economy is growing so strongly it will likely be the fourth largest in the world by 2040. “Our big neighbour,” says White, “will then be three or four times richer than us. Already its GDP has overtaken ours by about 15 per cent.”

Professor White warns that Australians are kidding themselves if they think Indonesia needs Australian help to succeed. “No one likes receiving charity, especially from neighbours,” he writes. “Those who offer it are more often resented than thanked. In fact, the more Indonesia grows, the more our aid program damages rather than fosters the kinds of links we want with them.” White urges Australia to give Indonesia much higher priority in foreign policy.

Read the full text of Professor White’s views at: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/indonesias-rise-is-the-big-story-were-missing-20120528-1zf72.html

In a related interview on ABC Radio (The World Today, May 22, 2012) Professor White calls for the establishment of a program to send 10,000 young Australians a year to Indonesia to learn Indonesian. “When young British people want to learn French, they go to France. When young Australians want to learn Bahasa, they should go to Indonesia.” he says. Australia should have “an imperative to build a relationship which maximises the chances that we can work together – that’s going to be in our interest as Indonesia becomes stronger.”

Read the text of Professor White’s remarks and listen to audio of his interview with the ABC’s Eleanor Hall at: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3508221.htm .

Arrangements for the extradition of prisoners between Australia and Indonesia need to be improved say Indonesian law specialists Tim Lindsey and Simon Butt

Both Australia and Indonesia have citizens in each other’s jails. Given the ever increasing numbers of Australian tourists visiting Indonesia (already above pre-Bali bombing levels), and given that Indonesians flock to Australia in preference to any other country for overseas study, it is likely that the numbers of Australians in Indonesian jails and Indonesians in Australian jails will only increase.

This is the judgement of Tim Lindsey and Simon Butt in an opinion piece that appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on May 25. They observe that senior Indonesian government figures have drawn explicit links between the recently announced clemency for convicted Australian marijuana smuggler Schapelle Corby and Australia’s decision to send home to Indonesia underage Indonesian fishers arrested crewing on people-smuggler vessels. This is a reminder that the extradition process between the two countries is currently politicised, and “the fates of Australians in Indonesian jails are mortgaged to the health of the bilateral relationship.”

The authors call for “greater predictability and formal procedures that lawyers can use on a routine basis, without having to reinvent the wheel each time someone is charged”.

Tim Lindsey is Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law in the Asian Law Centre at the University of Melbourne. Simon Butt is Senior Lecturer at Sydney Law School.

Read the full text of their views at: http://m.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/schapelle-corbys-parole-catch22-20120525-1z9r3.html?page=1 or http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/schapelle-corbys-parole-catch22-20120525-1z9r3.html

“Moving forward” in relations with Indonesia? The reality is otherwise says Nicholas Stuart

Writing in The Canberra Times (26 May 2012, page 7) columnist Nicholas Stuart says that Australia’s obsession with China’s rise has seemingly blinded us to the inexorable ascendency of Indonesia. Australia has benefited enormously from the stability of the archipelago to our north, he writes. “If Jakarta had really backed the militia violence in East Timor, thousands more would have died and we’d still be consumed in the conflict. By simply waving the armada of asylum seekers through, Indonesia could, within days, destroy the fiction that we possessed control of our borders.”

Stuart argues that, “if it wasn’t for the mining boom, Indonesia’s economic trajectory could have overtaken our own by now.” Indonesia, he says, is the fourth-largest country in the world by population and is a diverse, fascinating region that we should be interested in for its own sake. “A greater understanding of the vibrancy of the islands would enrich our lives, yet instead we go to Kuta to drink and party. The waste of opportunity is tragic.”

Read the opinion piece in full at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/australia-has-to-redirect-its-focus-and-engage-in-the-region-20120525-1zaj2.html?skin=text-only

Coalition policies on Indonesia “do not serve Australia’s interests”: Colin Brown

An opinion piece by Colin Brown on The Conversation web site (May 15, 2012) spotlights three recent statements by Tony Abbott and his shadow foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop that relate to Indonesia. If they achieve government the Coalition will (i) turn asylum-seeker boats back to Indonesia, (ii) will regard people smugglers with the same seriousness as Indonesia regards drug smugglers, and (ii) will put greater focus on foreign, particularly Asian language learning for pre-school aged children and above. The first two of these initiatives, says Brown, are “bad policy” and “do not serve Australia’s interests.” Colin Brown is Adjunct Professor at the Griffith Asia Centre, Griffith University. Read the full text of his article with reasons for his critique at: http://theconversation.edu.au/attention-tony-abbott-indonesia-wants-collaboration-not-confrontation-6817

Australian heavy-handedness and incompetence in dealings with Indonesia

An editorial in Melbourne’s Sunday Age of May 6th 2012 lambasts Australian universities for disastrous neglect of Indonesian studies and criticises the Australian government for its heavy-handedness and incompetence in dealings with Indonesia. Read the full text of the editorial at: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/editorial/australia-does-not-have-to-shout-to-be-heard-in-asia-20120505-1y5vn.html

In an accompanying opinion-piece titled “Australia abandons knowledge of the neighbours”, Tom Hyland sketches the decline in Indonesian studies in Australian schools and universities. “Experts warn,” he says, “that our collective ignorance means Australian businesses risk losing out on Indonesia’s predicted economic growth, which will make it one of the five largest economies in the world by the middle of the century.” Read the full text of Hyland’s hard-hitting article at: http://www.theage.com.au/national/australia-abandons-knowledge-of-the-neighbours-20120505-1y62u.html