Welcome to my Blog on eastern Indonesia. At the Australian Consulate-General in Makassar, my staff and I are in the privileged position of being involved in a project of great importance to Australia’s future, and one which I think is pretty important to Indonesia too. Our core duty is to promote bilateral trade, investment, education and people-to-people links between eastern Indonesia and Australia.
Australians in general know very little about eastern Indonesia. And people in eastern Indonesia are only slightly more aware of the country to their south. We are geographically very close, yet the cultural and linguistic divide between us remains considerable. But our two regions are of immense strategic and economic importance to each other.
So how do we change this paradigm, and increase mutual understanding and awareness?
The key from my point of view is to work on people. We must intensify people-to-people contact at all levels. We must promote knowledge of our respective countries: our natural wonders, our cultural diversity, and our economic opportunities. We must share our experiences in many different forums and open our eyes and ears whenever we hear about our neighbours just across the Arafura Sea.
At the Australian Consulate-General in Makassar our day-to-day work of promoting Australia in eastern Indonesia will occupy most of our energy and resources. But this Blog is my attempt to promote understanding of eastern Indonesia among Australians. Mostly, I will publish this Blog in English.
I hope you enjoy reading what follows, and sharing our journey as we reach out to the provinces of eastern Indonesia. Feedback will be most welcome.
Richard Mathews, Consul-General, Makassar.