Indah Gilang Pusparani at the ANU-Indonesia Gifted Researchers Program

Indonesian Gifted Researchers by Australian National University

On February 2nd-7th (just before my Graduation Day! Yeay!), I was invited to participate at the ANU-Indonesia Gifted Researchers Program. It was joint initiative of Australian National University with several universities in Indonesia: Universitas Indonesia, Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, Universitas Katolik Parahyangan, and Universitas Gadjah Mada. After a tight selection at International Office of Universitas Indonesia, I was nominated to represent Universitas Indonesia to participate at this program, along with other 11 undergraduate students from Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and Faculty of Humanities.

Researchers with Prof. Hal Hill and Prof. Jenny Gordon
Researchers with Prof. Hal Hill and Prof. Jenny Gordon

The theme of 2014 program was “Research, Critical Thinking, and Indonesia’s Emergence as an Economic and Strategic Power”. It says,

It aims to stimulate Indonesian brightest young minds and scholars to realize and examine Indonesia’s ambition as one of the top-ten economies in the world and a major regional power in international affairs.

The program was full-packed with research-activities, conducted at Novotel Golf Resort and Convention Center Bogor. Talking about feeding mind and soul, eh? So fun!

ANU-Indonesia Gifted Researchers Program
ANU-Indonesia Gifted Researchers Program

To discuss this thought-provoking subject, prominent Indonesia and Australian scholars presented their key research progress and findings on many issues, such as Indonesia’s economic outlook, challenges to its university and research sectors, social and political development, media and culture, as well as research method’s and ethics.

Here are the a bit of “precious” talents we are lucky to have at the program!

  • H. W. Arndt Professor Hal Hill,  not only a prominent expert on ASEAN Economics, but also an adviser to Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy;
  • Professor Brian Schmidt, whose startling discovery on the acceleration of the expansion rate of the Universe earned him Nobel Prize Winner on Physics;
  • Associate Professor Greg Fealy, a specialist in Indonesian Islam, transnational Islamist movements, and also the academic convener of the program!;
  • Ed Aspinall, a specialist on the politics of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, and a fluent Indonesian speaker.

    Indah Gilang Pusparani at the ANU-Indonesia Gifted Researchers Program
    Indah Gilang Pusparani at the ANU-Indonesia Gifted Researchers Program


I am so much happy and blessed to be part of this program. Unlike any other program, the ANU-Indonesia Gifted Researchers Program allowed participants to not only listen and discuss with the speakers during the lecture series, but also to interact with them in a very casual manner outside the classrooms. Most of the speakers stayed with us during the whole week, so that we had a precious opportunity to consult, talk, or even share our experiences with them during many opportunities, such as Twilight Talk, Lunch, and Dinner, and so forth.

With Brian Schmidt (Nobel Prize Winner) and Greg Fealy (Academic Convenver)
With Brian Schmidt (Nobel Prize Winner) and Greg Fealy (Academic Convenver)

In a group of 10-11 people, we are also facilitated by an academic and a peer mentor, who is a senior undergraduate student at ANU. At the end of the week, we deliver a group presentation in relations to the program’s theme “Indonesia’s Rise”. As usual, Indonesians are very creative of course, the so-called “presentation”, turned out to be very touching and inspiring performances, in forms of short videos, orations, and satirical dramatic productions. All of the performance underlined a substantial lesson learned from the entire week discussion and also our proposed solutions for Indonesia’s future development.

In the end of the program, we also had the opportunity to attend the gala dinner hosted by Vice Chancellor of the ANU, Prof. Ian Young, with featured speaker Dr. Bima Arya Sugiarto, Mayor-Elect of Bogor. He shared that his Ph.D. research and study at the ANU most inspired his speeches and policy as a political leader. At last, Professor Andrew McIntyre, Dean of ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, delivered a very heart-warming closing remark, stating that we were all welcomed as the ANU Alumni family. Each and every one of us was presented with a certificate of completion as if we were graduated from the ANU. For me personally, it was the second graduation certificate I earned that week since I was also graduated from Universitas Indonesia, with the highest GPA and best thesis in the International Relations Department.

So-called "Batik Boys", academics goes craaazzzyyy at the Gala Dinner
So-called “Batik Boys”, academics goes craaazzzyyy at the Gala Dinner

If we looked back to what we expected on the first day we started the program, the ANU-Indonesia Gifted Researchers Program was beyond remarkable. We were equipped with the strong research foundation, we built networks with the most prominent and inspiring academics and youths, and we had pledged to contribute what we learned from this program for the better Indonesia and beyond.

Oh yeah, if you are interested to join the next year’s program, watch out the announcement in this web:


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