Language, Key to Understand A Country

The Indonesian ambassador to Australia, Mr Kristiarto Legowo, says there is nothing more effective to understanding a country than learning the language.

The ambassador’s comments come while speaking at the The Australian Society of Indonesian Language Educators (ASILE) conference held in Melbourne from 28-30 September. Mr Legowo cited a Lowy Report suggesting 60 percent of Australians still believe Indonesia not to be a democracy as one example of a misunderstanding that still exists between the two nations.

However, Mr Legowo also emphasised the many signs of goodwill between Australia and Indonesia. Both countries continue to offer each other financial support for disaster relief efforts, and to collaborate on a range of areas. Mr Legowo was particularly grateful to teachers of Indonesian in Australia.

“I wish to express my gratitude to all of you who have dedicated your time and efforts to continue to push the teaching of Indonesian language in Australia. There is no tool more effective to understanding a country than learning the language,” says Mr Legowo.

Founded in 1994, the ASILE Conference is a biennial conference for those interested in the research, teaching and learning of Indonesian language in Australia and abroad. The conference theme for 2018 was “Cultivating Literacy”. This year Melbourne’s bid was successful to host the conference with speakers coming from interstate and overseas to attend.

The conference’s opening included a Sumatran dance performance with the keynote address delivered by Dr Priyantono Rudito, Advisor to the Minister of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia. Dr Rudito presented his doctoral research into tourism in Indonesia, with the ambitious goal of having over 20 million foreign tourists visit Indonesia in 2019. He explained the Indonesian tourism ministry will use the Bali brand to promote other tourist destinations throughout Indonesia.

“We pick 10 tourist destinations by leveraging the Bali brand, we call it the new 10 Bali’s,” explains Dr Rudito.

The 2018 ASILE conference was organised by representatives of the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Monash University, the Victorian Indonesian Language Teachers’ Association (VILTA), the Indonesian Language and Culture Centre of Victoria and Tasmania (BBBIVT), the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) and La Trobe University’s Bahasa Indonesia Students’ Association (BISA).

Texts and photos: Tim Flicker