Launch of Terobosan Akademik Australia-Indonesia: Refleksi Antropologis dan Sosiologis Alumni PIES 2008-2019 (Academic breakthrough Australia-Indonesia: Anthropological and Sociological Reflections of PIES Alumni 2008-2019)

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Many thanks to Nurul Barhrul Ulum who created this amazing video for the launch

On Thursday, 9 September 2021, we were delighted to launch the book Terobosan Akademik Australia-Indonesia: Refleksi Antropologis dan Sosiologis Alumni PIES 2008-2019 as part of our final event in the PIES program. The idea for Terobosan Akademik Australia-Indonesia came from Marzuki Wahid, newly appointed as Rector to Institut Studi Islam Fahmina (ISIF) in Cirebon and a member of the first cohort of PIES participants who arrived in Canberra in July 2008. The book was two years in the making and we would like to express our deep gratitude to Pak Marzuki for bringing together and editing the writings that make up this remarkable book.

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Editor of Terobosan Akademik Australia-Indonesia Marzuki Wahid

Terobosan Akademik Australia-Indonesia contains the reflections of twenty-one PIES participants on their experiences in Australia. Some contributors focus on their intellectual journeys, others are more personal in nature. Through the words and stories of the authors, we are given a glimpse into what it was like for the contributors to spend an academic year in Canberra, far from their families and communities, and what being involved in the PIES program meant for them intellectually and as individuals. Amusing anecdotes sit alongside stories of personal change and development, and reflections on what it means to be Indonesian and Muslim in the contemporary world.

As well as the twenty-one chapters written by PIES participants on their experiences during the PIES program, the book contains a history of the founding of the PIES program by Emeritus Professor Virginia Hooker and personal reflections on the program by Bu Nia (as she is known), Associate Professor Greg Fealy and Dr Sally White. Pak Greg, who took over directorship of the program in 2010, and Bu Sally, who was the academic manager of the program for all seven cohorts, also contributed an epilogue to the volume.

Given her role as PIES founder, it was fitting that Bu Nia officially launched Terobosan Akademik Australia-Indonesia. In a gracious and inspiring speech, she spoke of the five qualities needed to become a researcher: passion for the topic; kesabaran (never giving up); keteguhan (hanging in there); support of those around us; organisational and planning skills; and keberanian (courage). It was a reflection on her own journey seeking to become ulil-albaab (an insightful human being), as well as a recognition of the physical, spiritual and intellectual journey undertaken by PIES participants during their time in Australia. The book, she said, was a record of PIES and a tribute to its strengths as well as a comment on its weaknesses.  It was a primary source about how PIES operated, its aims and successes, and how it responded to feedback and made adjustments. Of the authors and other graduates of the PIES program, Bu Nia said: “You have shown the qualities of ulil-albaab, people of insight, and we are so proud of you”.

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Bu Nia, taken from the video to launch the book

Congratulations to all the authors whose writings are published in this volume, and a huge vote of appreciation to Pak Marzuki for realising such an ambitious endeavour!

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Authors of Terobosan Akademik