On 15th August this year we will be holding an alumni reunion to celebrate the 'Tahun Emas' of our Department of Indonesian (and Malayan) Studies.
In 1958 the first classes on Indonesian language and culture at the University of Sydney were taught by Dr Frits van Naerssen, who had arrived from the Netherlands at the end of the previous year to take up his duties as Senior Lecturer in Indonesian and Malayan Studies. Van Naerssen went on to become the first Professor, and led the Department in its hey-day of the 1960s, when a new generation of Australians was discovering Asia, and the focus of world politics was on the region. Graduates of the Department have gone on to become distinguished academics not only in Australia, but also at institutions such as Princeton and Leiden Universities, and to be come leading Australian writers, diplomats, school teachers, aid workers, journalists and internationally-successful business figures. Through collaborative programs such as that with Satya Wacana University in Java, the University has reached out to the wider community, and the Department has always emphasised strong collaboration between Indonesian and Australian academics, producing Indonesian PhD graduates in areas as diverse as architecture, politics and literary studies.