8 February 2013
Australia-Indonesia Youth Dialogue Launched
Young people from Australia and Indonesia discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations on Friday as part of the first Australia Indonesia Youth Dialogue.
The dialogue involved participants from both countries exchanging views and experiences, based on participants’ recent cultural exchange programs.
Participants included members of Australian Indonesian Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP), Australian-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) and the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS).
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty said the purpose of the dialogue is to gather ideas about how to strengthen people-to-people relations between the two countries.
“We have many points of engagement between our cultural communities, between journalists, civil society, leaders, but I think it’s very important to tap into the youth perspective, because that is going to be the future of the relationship,” said Ambassador Moriarty.
Ambassador Moriarty said Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is one of the most important in Asia and that, as the region continues to prosper, working on that people-to-people links is vital.
“If you don’t have strong people-to-people links then other parts of the relationship can be distorted. In some ways people-people links act as a ballast to the bilateral relationship and helps build understanding.”
The Ambassador also stressed the importance of updating Indonesia’s perception of Australia.
“It is important for us to promote a view of a modern, multicultural and tolerant Australia in Indonesia because Australian society has been transformed over the last 20 to 30 years. It’s a very different Australia to the impressions that are sometimes generated though negative media images and cultural stereotypes. If Indonesians travel to Sydney or Melbourne or Perth these days it’s a very different country to what you’d expect in terms of ethnic mix, language, cultural practice and religion,” said Ambassador Moriarty.
A vision statement was prepared at the conclusion of the dialogue, which will be directly to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Indonesian Minister for Youth and Sport.
Ray Marcelo, Counsellor, (Public Affairs) tel. (021) 2550 5290 mob 0811 187 3175