On Saturday 14 July 2012, a group of ACICIS students were invited to meet with the Australian Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr, during his visit to Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The meeting was a unique opportunity for university students and participants in a school tour from Perth’s Scotch College to talk to the Minister about their experiences and the value of learning language in-country.

After an address in which the Minister stressed the growing importance of Indonesia in the Asia-Pacific region and the long tradition of Australian scholarly and voluntary engagement with Indonesia, school students from Scotch college were quizzed about their abilities to talk to people on the street and the place of Indonesia in their future careers.

University students had the opportunity to outline the nature of their study programs in a number of Indonesian universities and the value of second language acquisition in general. In addition to the Foreign Minister, ACICIS students also had the opportunity to discuss their experiences with Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr Greg Moriarty, and various AusAID and diplomatic staff who were a part of the Minister’s delegation.

With the heavy contingent of Western Australians, there was a bit of catching up on the current form of the AFL ladder in between discussions of career options and the nature of diplomatic and development sector work in Indonesia.

ACICIS would like to warmly thank the Australian Embassy, Jakarta, for its role in arranging this great opportunity for both our students and the Australian Foreign Minister.

ACICIS Resident Director Dr Philip King said:

It was a very rare opportunity for school students and university students to discuss their in-country experiences with the Foreign Minister. The meeting in general, and specific statements from the Minister himself, sent a great signal to our students that they were putting themselves far ahead of other graduates by taking the step of learning Indonesian and familiarising themselves with the workings of our increasingly important northern neighbour.