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This article is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.
The academic community at The Australian National University (ANU) has cultivated strong connections throughout the region and across generations over the past seven and a half decades.
These enduring personal connections have led many bright new scholars to the University since it was first established in 1946.
This was certainly the case for Chandra Tri Putra who was encouraged by two former colleagues to study his PhD at the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics (ACDE) at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.
Chandra was working as a Research Associate at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) in Indonesia prior to completing his PhD in 2021.
“Two of my supervisors at ERIA were ANU graduates,” Chandra said.
Now a senior economist at ERIA, Dr Narjoko was previously a student of Professor Hill himself in 2001. He too was encouraged to study his PhD at the ACDE by another ANU graduate and Honorary Professor at Crawford School, Mari Pangestu.
Honorary Professor Pangestu was a student here in the 1970s and 1980s who went on to become Minister of Trade and Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy in Indonesia. She is currently the Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships at the World Bank and has encouraged many Indonesian scholars to study at ANU over the years.
In fact, Honorary Professor Pangestu’s connection to the University dates back to when her father, Dr Jusuf Panglaykim, was a staff member in the 1960s at the ANU Department of Economics, which would later become Crawford’s ACDE.
Professor Hill also mentored Muhamad Chatib “Dede” Basri, former Minister of Finance in Indonesia. Dr Basri continues to contribute back to the ANU community as a member of the Advisory board of the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA).
The impact of these generational connections built at Crawford have resulted in policy and research collaborations along with strengthened relationships with governments, the private sector and research.
Since it was first established in 1965, the ANU Indonesia Project at the ACDE has been instrumental in establishing strong networks with many of Indonesia’s most important researchers, government bodies, businesses and civil society.
Now also funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Indonesia Project aims to build stronger, research-based public policies in Indonesia and foster the next generation of Indonesian researchers.
Having graduated in 2021 and returned home to Jakarta, Chandra is already making strides as a member of the next generation of Indonesian researchers who have studied at Crawford.
He is currently working on a number of research projects for ERIA and the Asian Development Bank, and believes his studies have helped shape “the methodology and structure” of his research.
Professor Hill says Chandra’s journey to Crawford is a case in point of the University’s long history of engagement in the region since it was first established over 75 years ago.
“Crawford School and the University more broadly, has a long, deep historical engagement with the region,” he said.
“Personal connections matter and are important for our ongoing work.”