International Perspectives for Australian Universities

Perspektif Online
29 March 2007

Melbourne, Australia once more plays host to an international conference on March 28-30, 2007 at the Langham Hotel in Southbank. The conference on marketing matters is held by the Australian Vice Chancellors' Committee (AVCC), the council of Australia's university presidents.

The Universities Marketing, Communications and Development Conference (Uniconference for short) is held every two years to share knowledge in improving the quality of Australian universities in their national and well as international engagements.

The gathering was opened by a traditional prayer ceremony by Murindinddi, a native Australian, who dressed for the occasion in authentic bear skin cloak. Exceeding 300 people, the number of attendees overshadowed similar events in the past. They came from all over Australia and from New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, UK, and Indonesia.

with Professor Richard Larmin, Monash University Vice-ChancelorC, Governor David de Kretser,
Conference Chairman Lee-Ann Norris, former Judge John Phillips, Muridinddi

In their opening speeches Prof. Richard Larkins AO, Vice President of AVCC and Governor of Victoria Prof. David de Kretser AC, emphasized the importance for each university to seek and recognize their respective strengths and weaknesses in order to devise an effective marketing strategy. "You cannot be everything to everybody."

The first main speaker at the conference with the theme 'Tying it all Together' was Wimar Witoelar who still holds the position of Adjunct Professor at Deakin University in Melbourne. Wimar Witoelar brought his perspective on stability amid instability international considerations for Australian universities.

Wimar stated that Australia and Indonesia have a comfort zone built up over the years through joint efforts. This will not disappear overnight because of some incidents and a screaming press. Wimar said that the opportunities and challenges to Australian universities lie in responding to changing societies overseas by shifting the paradigm to a truly trans-cultural and trans-national educational approach.

Wimar pointed out changes that have come about in Indonesia and to some extent in Southeast Asia. Indonesia has become a very democratic country. Direct elections and freedom of expression illustrate the remarkable gains. The president was elected by direct vote in 2004. Hundreds of heads of local governments arte being elected. The most remarkable accomplishment was Aceh where the new Governor is a leader of the Free Aceh Movement thus effectively proving the will of the people.

The Governor of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia with more than half the population of Australia, will be elected by direct popular vote in August. In an exciting example of how citizens are being brought into productive political dialogue, a weekly television program called 'Gubernur Kita' currently presents discourse and debate among the candidates, political parties and community groups. The program is conducted live with telephone call-ins, text messages and running discussions in a public access website.

But Wimar reminds the audience that the rewards of democracy have not come in any substantial degree. Economic gains, law and order have in fact been more elusive than before. But there should not be disappointment because it is not an issue of whether democracy is the right way. The challenge now is to breathe the culture of democracy into the structure of democracy.

with John Allin and Governor David de Krester

The AVCC is non partisan and exists exclusively for educational purposes aiming to serve the best interest of the universities and through them, the nation.

The 2007 Organizing Committee comprises:

  • Chair: Lee-Ann Norris (Monash University)
  • John Allin (John Allin and Associates)
  • Jo Adams (Swinburne University)
  • Allan Brideson (University of South Australia)
  • Shane Cahill (University of Melbourne)
  • Lianne Cretney-Barnes (Edith Cowan University)
  • Bev Knowles
  • Jodie Martin-Blick (Monash University)
  • Christine Mountford (Victoria University)
  • Ian Olton (University of Southern Queensland)
  • Rhys Palmer (University of Newcastle)
  • Callista Punch (AVCC)
  • Paula Vigorelli (RMIT University)

See all photos from Wimar's Melbourne trip

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  1. From Mandra on 29 March 2007 16:06:27 WIB
    Indonesia selalu dianggap sepele pada pertemuan2 internasional sebab sebagian orang2 kita belepotan kalo ngomong,apalagi ngomong pake bahasa Inggris. Tidak bisa mengekspresikan gagasan dengan menarik, karena mungkin memang tidak punya "clearance of idea". Kita perlu banyak orang2 macam ww, the great communicator. Gimana ya caranya, mencetak generasi2 baru yg pintar komunkasi dan pede kaya ww.
  2. From Marsha on 30 March 2007 17:15:52 WIB
    WW, I didn't know you went to Melbourne! :))

    Anyway, thanks for reassuring those chairmen of educational institute that Indonesia *has* the means to prove its intelligence's cutting edge. Now it's our part to make it come true. Buat para pelajar/students, jangan males-malesan, jangan fail supaya nggak ada alasan untuk mencela bahwa orang Indonesia nggak berotak. Terutama untuk mereka yg belajar di luar negeri, secara nggak sadar kita bawa nama negara juga loh. Berhubung kita sudah 'diberkahi' dengan paspor (meski rada rese kalo minta visa) dan keamanan politik (meski bukan yg terbaik di dunia), make good of those benefits that little green passport of yours have given you.

    Sekian dari saya :)
  3. From David Herlambang on 05 April 2007 20:02:58 WIB
    Dear Mr. Witular,

    As an Indonesian student that has studied both in an Indonesian university and an Australian university, I have to admit that Indonesian universities have a very low expectation towards the research and accomplishment compared to the international universities. However, that does not mean that we do not have students with beautiful minds. In fact, in my course an Indonesian was actually the best student.

    As an Indonesian, I am very proud of you Mr. Witular. I will be very flattered if you would like to comment and exchange link to my blog.


    David Herlambang
  4. From I say on 25 March 2014 02:56:28 WIB
    ' As you are able to see, the next sentence is shorter, simpler and direct for the point. When you are looking for writing comedy, two heads might be better than one.
    I say

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