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The Australia Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) is a youth-led, non-government organisation that, with the support of the Australia-Indonesia Institute, works to connect university students and young professionals from Indonesia and Australia.

Currently there are active AIYA chapters in every Australian state and territory as well as Jakarta and there are more chapters in the pipeline for places that may include Kupang, in East Nusa Tenggara, and other places in Indonesia. The widespread and strengthening network of AIYA chapters also provides an increasing amount of support and points of contact for members when they travel abroad and they are able to visit their counterparts in Indonesia or Australia.

AIYA’s primary goals are to connect, inform and inspire young Australians and Indonesians. It does this by informing and helping students and alumni of Australian universities about internship and other work opportunities related to, or located within, Indonesia. AIYA works towards building greater youth engagement from Australian and Indonesian governments, businesses and other organisations. Importantly, AIYA works to connect young Australians and Indonesians on a personal, people-to-people level which not only results in strong personal friendships but also expands the business networks of young Australians and Indonesians. People-to-people connections like these are also significant for improving the overall long term bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Australia.

 

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I became involved in AIYA NSW in 2013 while I was studying Indonesian online. My lecturer at the time, Dr Richard Curtis, suggested I get in touch with AIYA NSW which was just forming at the time. I attended the AIYA NSW soft launch in February 2013 and then the official launch three months later in May. During those events I met a wide range of people from Indonesia and Australia. I got to rub shoulders with people from diverse backgrounds: from students to business leaders to journalists to the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia and his staff. Other events have been both extremely informative and entertaining such as the Indonesian Election Preview held in April 2014 and included hilarious talks by academics and policy analysts and included drinks and Indonesian snacks as well as important time to mingle and chat.

At the start of this financial year I decided to get more involved and I attended the AIYA NSW annual general meeting where I became the Community Outreach Officer on the Executive Committee. For everyone in NSW, there are already a number of events lined up for the rest of 2014: such as but not limited to, the establishment of a new series of regular networking and language exchange events called Cas Cis Cus which include guest speakers such as Aaron L. Connelly who is from the Lowy Institute for International Policy where he has a large focus on Indonesia and Indonesia-Australia relations. Ever-popular trivia nights are also on the cards in the coming months.

Becoming a member of AIYA NSW is easy and brings with it a number of benefits; plus it’s only $10 per year. While some events, like the August Cas Cis Cus, are free to everyone, other events require a small entry fee and as an AIYA NSW member you are entitled to discounted entry fees at AIYA NSW events and as well as this you are kept up to date with all things Australian and Indonesian youth could ask for via AIYA NSW’s e-newsletter. As well as these benefits AIYA NSW members also have free access to the online Indonesian-English language exchange program UniBRIDGE. To get involved with Australia-Indonesia events and meet like-minded students and young professionals please feel free to contact AIYA NSW at [email protected]org.au

For interested youth from other states, you can find your relevant contact on our website.

 

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Chris is the Program Coordinator for UniBRIDGE Project and the Community Outreach Officer for AIYA NSW. Chris has lived and worked in Japan and France and spent some time in Eastern Indonesia. Chris has completed a Diploma of Languages (Indonesian) and a Master of Arts in International Relations which included a research thesis that focused on identity politics in Japan and Japanese refugee policies.

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