Friday 29 November 2019

Alexandra Smith and Jesse Elias Christian

The ASEAN-Australia Young Leaders Forum (AAYLF)  2019 launched with an opening ceremony held at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on the 29th of November. 


Our 41 delegates, from across the 11 ASEAN nations and Australia, were welcomed by Forum Director Cameron Allan and Australian Ambassador to ASEAN Jane Duke. Her Excellency highlighted the importance of cultivating the next generation of young leaders and developing people-to-people links through forums such as AAYLF.

H.E. Jane Duke gives the opening address at the Australian Embassy Jakarta

Dr Sue Thompson from the Australian National University and Professor Shamit Saggar from the University of Western Australia then gave opening remarks, drawing on the history of ASEAN and regional co-operation and the enduring strategic ASEAN-Australian relationship.


To deliver the keynote address we were then very honoured to receive ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi. His Excellency noted the importance of ASEAN-Australian relations, with Australia being ASEANs oldest dialogue partner, and focused on the importance of investing in youth and forging connections.

Forum Director Cameron Allan with H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi

Finally, the opening ceremony was closed with a traditional dance performance by Tari Kembeng Malate from KT Universitas Indonesia.

Tari Kembeng Malate from KT Universitas Indonesia perform traditional Indonesian dance

Following a coffee break, the first panel of the forum delved into the future of the ASEAN-Australian strategic partnership with discussion from H.E. Jane Duke, Dr Evi Fitriani and Dr Imran Lum and H.E. Jose Tavaras.

Next, the delegates travelled to Tokopedia Towers, headquarters and home to the largest e-commerce site in Indonesia, Tokopedia. Delegates then had the opportunity to get to know each other over lunch, with sweeping panoramic views from Jakarta from the 52nd floor terrace forming the backdrop to the brief recess.

Delegates at the afternoon venue in Tokopedia Tower

Returning from the break, delegates were once more provided with the opportunity to get to know more about their fellow conference attendees, with ‘speed-friending’ exercises. Edwin Hartanto Mailoa, a strategic development expert at Tokopedia then took delegates and honoured guests on a tour through the Tokopedia offices, and spoke about the importance of digital platforms in international trade.  

Delegates then presented country updates for the 11 ASEAN countries and Australia in small teams formed during the forum pre-curriculum, each comprising one member from the assigned country. This gave delegates the opportunity to learn about the strengths and unique culture of each country and also some of the challenges facing them, particularly relating to youth. 

Khunapong Khunaraksa, a consultant who helps to support global water startups to expand across Southeast Asia, then led a skills workshop which challenged the delegates to connect with each other through storytelling exercises. 

Finally, we wrapped up the day with a reception at the Residence of the Australian Ambassador to ASEAN, where delegates were able to chat with Permanent Representatives from ASEAN countries, panel speakers from the forum, and Australians working in foreign affairs and trade. 

The ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership would like to thank our partners and recognise the efforts of our wonderful team of volunteers, without whom this event would not have been possible