A message from the Consortium Director

ACICIS regards the safety and security of our students ‘in-country’ as our first priority.

We provide participants accurate, up-to-date information on the local security situation prior to their departure and to provide regular updates on any changes to that assessment. All participants are required to have appropriate personal and travel insurance to cover personal safety and security contingencies. In addition, all participants must have a mobile phone in Indonesia to enable them to communicate easily in emergencies.

On arrival in Indonesia, participants are thoroughly briefed during the Orientation program about matters of personal safety and security. They are informed of a range of routine security arrangements and sound practical advice regarding their health and personal safety whilst studying in Indonesia, and it is stressed that they must take responsibility for personal behaviour and safety.

All students are strongly encouraged to register with their respective embassies in Indonesia.. The Resident Director (RD) is designated by the Australian Embassy as the warden  for Yogyakarta, and has excellent lines of communication to the mission. The RD also keeps ACICIS participants informed by email of any security bulletins from the Australian Embassy or ACICIS security advice.

In providing information to participants, their home universities and their families, we do not seek to alarm, but do endeavour to present a balanced and considered assessment of what is sometimes a fluid security environment.

The Resident Director (and the Secretariat) routinely follow developments in Indonesia with specialist attention. The RD has an extensive network of contactsfrom which they draw security information. The RD liaises regularly with relevant staff in our Indonesian partner universities  from whom ACICIS is provided with a range of ‘safe house’ accommodation if required in emergencies. Maintaining these information networks is an important part of the RD’s job and is taken very seriously. Participants are kept informed, as necessary, by the RD, either in person, by email, or telephone.

The ACICIS risk management strategy is foremost premised on the fact that ACICIS students are immersed in their local communities and do not constitute a visible ‘ex-patriate’ community. ACICIS students:

  • Often speak Indonesian;
  • Live in the community rather than in hotels;
  • Have the 24 hour support of the ACICIS Resident Director (RD) and local ACICIS staff;
  • Have a network of Indonesian and Australian friends and contacts;
  • Receive extensive briefing on security and other problems both pre-departure and also at orientation;
  • Are covered by ACICIS emergency procedures, which include:
    • Compulsory mobile phones,
    • Prearranged safe houses;
    • Evacuation plans;

ACICIS has acted responsibly to guarantee the safety of our students in a range of challenging situations. During the fall of Suharto, all students were evacuated to Bali; in 2002 in the aftermath of the Bali bombing, the semester was curtailed and all students were ordered to return home; and in 2010 when Mount Merapi erupted, classes were suspended and all students were ordered to leave Yogyakarta till the situation became less problematic.

As Consortium Director in Australia I consult with the ACICIS Reference Group when circumstances require wider consideration by the consortium’s national policy body. Our security arrangements are constantly under review and are designed to be flexible enough to respond to a variety of possible scenarios.

While it is impossible for anyone to guarantee the security of students – whether in Indonesia, Australia, or anywhere else – the Consortium takes this aspect of ‘in-country’ study very seriously. We seek to provide participants with a safe, positive, and uplifting learning experience in Indonesia. We believe we have been successful in meeting this challenge since our first cohort of students went to Indonesia in 1995.

Embassy bulletins include information about how to obtain the latest security information, including:

The Australian Embassy’s website in Jakarta
http://www.austembjak.or.id

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
http://www.dfat.gov.au

Security bulletins from Great Britain
https://www.gov.uk/government/world/indonesia

Security bulletins from Canada
http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/indonesia

Security bulletins from the USA
http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/country/united-states/

Security bulletins from other embassies in Indonesia
http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/country/indonesia/

Professor David Hill
ACICIS Consortium Director