Charlotte Corbyn is alumna of CAUSINDY 2018 in Makassar.
Tell us about your current role and how you got there.
I work for the Australian government in international policy. I always wanted to work in international engagement, but I wasn’t really sure how to get there. When I was studying, I did a semester in Indonesia with ACICIS. It was one of the most rewarding things I did throughout my degree. I also think it helped me to get my current role, as I could demonstrate a genuine interest in other countries and cultures.
Why did you first feel interested in Australia, and why is the Australia-Indonesia relationship important to you?
I first felt interested in Indonesia when I was in my undergraduate degree in Politics and International Studies. It sounds ridiculous now, but I remember being so surprised when I learnt how big Indonesia was. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know more about it, and thought that it was important I learnt more. As very close neighbours, I think it is important we have a close relationship and cooperate on areas of shared concern, whether it is related to environmental, development, education, trade or other issues. Apart from these practical areas of cooperation, I love spending time travelling in Indonesia. I’d love more Australians to experience that as well.
Why did you want to participate in CAUSINDY, and what did you learn or gain from it?
I was a CAUSINDY delegate in 2018, when the theme was ‘Connected by Sea’. I enjoyed the opportunity to be surrounded by other people who are interested in the Australia-Indonesia relationship, but from very diverse fields. I also loved seeing people, who hadn’t been exposed to the awesome Australia-Indonesia community before, learn about how strong that community is. I really encourage people to think creatively about how they fit into this broader Australia-Indonesia community, and how the networks you develop through CAUSINDY can support your passions and endeavours.
Do you have any creative ideas for the bilateral relationship, either from your CAUSINDY year or since?
Yes! There is a beautiful story about Indonesian independence and Australia. During Indonesia’s war of independence, Australian trade unions refused to load Dutch ships carrying arms and supplies. I love what this story says about the importance of communities working together and showing solidarity with each other across international borders. I think it would be amazing to host an exhibition in Australia and Indonesia, to share this story with more people – perhaps when Indonesia marks 75 years of independence in 2020. If you want to get involved, let me know!