APU Students Participate in Economic Talk

APU Students Participate in G4 “Economic Talk” Symposium in Tokyo:
2010/5/6 10:46:47 (1283 reads)

n March 22-27, 2010, three APU international students participated in the Iuventum G4 Economic Talk symposium in Tokyo. APU Students Arisyi Fariza Raz (APM4, Indonesia), Tamarind Puri Khiranti Indra (APM4, Indonesia) and Iqra Anugrah (APS3, Indonesia) participated in the 6 day program and discussed a range of global issues and from the youth perspective with other students from universities in the G4 nations of China, Japan, the USA and Germany.

Dealing with various economic-related topics, such as globalization, regionalism and health issues, the APU students showed their skills in the panel discussion sessions, working alongside other participants from prestigious universities around Japan and abroad such as Tokyo University and Waseda University.

During the conference, the participants also had the opportunity to hear from representatives of the automobile industry including Toyota and Volkswagen who spoke of their efforts to reduce Co2 emissions and the introduction of environmentally friendly technology in response to global warming. At the end of the conference, a joint communiqué was presented by the participants and included policy recommendations for predicted challenges in the year 2020.

Looking back on the talks, Iqra Anugrah (APS3, Indonesia) commented, “The conference was so exciting and I learnt many new things. I particularly enjoyed discussing and exchanging ideas on recent global economic issues with so many students from many of the outstanding universities in Japan.”

Supporters of this event include the G8 Youth Summit Japan, the German-Japanese Youth Society and the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies.

Reporter, Student Press Assistant (SPA): Raz Arisyi Fariza (APM3, Indonesia)

News : APU Students and RCAPS conduct the “Seminar of Indonesia”

News : APU Students and RCAPS conduct the “Seminar of Indonesia”:
2010/2/19 14:20:20 (731 reads)

n Saturday, February 6, 2010, the “Seminar of Indonesia” RCAPS* Seminar was held under the theme “Observing Today’s Indonesia, a Projection into The Future”. Organized primarily by APU students, this seminar invited prominent scholars of Indonesian studies to engage in a panel discussion on the future of Indonesia including Professor at the Waseda University Faculty of International Liberal Studies, Director of the Clinical Education and Science Research Institute, Dr. Ken Kawan Soetanto.

This seminar was organized by the APU Indonesian Society (APU Ina) in collaboration with the Indonesian Student Association in Japan (PPIJ) and RCAPS.

Former APU president, Professor Monte CASSIM opened the proceedings as he shared his experiences of working in Indonesia with the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD).

Following the opening address, holder of four PhDs from prominent Japanese universities Dr. Soetanto then inspired the audience with a passionate keynote speech under the title “Because Of You The World is Difference” which focused on the importance of education in Indonesia’s future development. Dr. Soetanto then gave the audience a few words of advice, “Never forget to set yourself goals and remember that our combined efforts can change Indonesia for the better”.

The seminar then continued with a panel discussion by Associate Professor at the Kyoto University Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Masaaki OKAMOTO and Kyushu International University Associate Professor Satomi OGATA. The lively discussion looked at a range of issues such as the balance of power in Indonesian politics and the empowerment of females in Islamic Indonesia.

Looking back on the event, seminar organisation team representative Iqra Anugrah (APS3, Indonesia) said,”We were glad to see so many students, faculty members and other elements of the APU community from Indonesia and around the world actively participate in this seminar. We hope that this kind of event serves as a stepping stone toward further student-initiated academic activities at APU.”

*The Ritsumeikan Center for Asia Pacific Studies (RCAPS) was established in July 1996 with a mission to promote and foster research into the multifaceted developments and challenges that face the Asia Pacific region in the 21st Century. RCAPS seminars are held regularly at which lecturers from both on and off-campus are invited to share research findings in the field of Asia Pacific Studies.

Reporter, Student Press Assistant, Virgi Agita Sari (APM3, Indonesia)

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News : Grand Performance wraps-up Indonesian Week with a Blast

rom June 29 to July 3, 2009, Indonesian Week, the third installment to the AY2009 Spring Semester Multicultural Weeks, was held. Indonesian culture was introduced through a range of events such as Indonesian film showings, traditional handicrafts and folk costume displays.

On the evening of Friday, July 3 2009, the Indonesian Week Grand Performance marked the end of Indonesian Week. It was held at APU Millennium Hall. People wishing to secure a seat formed a long queue in front of Millennium Hall that eventually reached the AP House pedestrian bridge.

Nevertheless, the 2-hour performance turned out to be well worth while queuing for, as the audience enjoyed a range of Indonesian singing, bands, dances and fashion shows, which were creatively interwoven into a flash-back story of a grandmother reminiscing her youth. The concept of Indonesian Week 2009 was different from previous Indonesian Weeks, and came about not only through the hard work of the core Indonesian Week Executive Committee, but also by the enthusiasm of all students who shared in the vision to make it a success.

After the performance there was a short encore performance of “Dangdut” in front of the Millennium Hall as a bonus for the audience, and everyone joined in to dance to the music.

The leader of Indonesian Week, Iqra Anugrah (APS2, Indonesia), commented, “Being one of the organizers for Indonesian Week was really an unforgettable experience. I faced a lot of challenges and difficulties during this whole process, but on the other hand I also found many people who were willing to help us and that is why we could succeed. It is really satisfying when I see how this event has met people’s expectations”.

Indonesian Week was an opportunity for Indonesia to be showcased around the campus and for non-Indonesians to become more familiar with Indonesian culture.

*Multicultural Week is sponsored by the Nakajima Foundation

Reporter, Student Press Assistant (SPA): NUGROHO Katarina Marsha Utama(APM3, Indonesia)


Indonesia’s Long Journey Towards Democracy

Indonesia’s democracy development is good news. As the most populous Muslim nation where democracy and market economy rule, it has started to play a more active role in international politics. Recent achievements and challenges of Indonesia show how it should aim higher.

Ten years ago, Indonesia was near collapse. The Asian financial crisis hit the nation while at the same time it had to face political reformation after the authoritarian Suharto government. Ethno-religious sentiments and conflicts were widespread and riots were part of daily life. 2 However, things do move. A recent report on Indonesia showed that despite of many failures, Indonesia has been able to achieve many things with political and economic stability under the popular re-elected president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. 3 Various bombings in Indonesia, including the latest 2009 Jakarta bombing in the aftermath of the relatively peaceful election, do not undermine Indonesia’s performance, especially when Indonesian National Police succeeded in combating terrorism. 4 Economic sectors after global financial crisis also record impressive development. Indonesia is one of few countries in Asia that has positive economic growth even when Asian economies experienced negative growth. 5 These achievements have lifted the face of Indonesia’s diplomacy in international fora. Besides trying to take the lead in ASEAN, Indonesia also exhibits its ability in tackling climate change and global warming issues. 6 Indonesia has faced and is facing serious issues both socially and economically, but they have so far not prevented Indonesia’s journey to democracy.

What Indonesia has achieved in the last ten years

What makes Indonesia’s reform unique is the fact that Indonesia implemented both political and economic reform at the same time. While many similar cases in many countries seem to be failed, Indonesia has managed its commitment to reform with quite successful results. The most prominent case is the re-introduction of free and fair electoral politics. Since after 1998, Indonesia has conducted three elections: first multiparty election in 1999, presidential and parliamentary elections in 2004, where voters had opportunities to directly vote for the MPs for the first time and the last 2009 election, which was relatively peaceful and successful. 7 Indonesian presidential elections in 2009 also showed the peaceful and fascinating race among the three presidential candidates, the first candidate is the incumbent president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with his running mate, Indonesia’s central bank governor, Boediono, dubbed as SBY-Boediono, which supported by pro-growth centre-right coalition of SBY’s Democrat Party and several leading Islamic parties. The second candidate is the former president Megawati Sukarnoputri and her partner, a former high-ranking military general, Prabowo, referred colloquially as Mega-Pro. They have the support of the centre-left Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P), the populist Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) and some other small parties. The last candidate is the incumbent vice president Jusuf Kalla with former general Wiranto as the candidate from Golkar Party and People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), using the nickname JK-Win.

The success of elections is just a glimpse of the advancement of civil and political rights in Indonesia. In the field of constitutional law, Indonesia has amended its constitution, as mandated in the agenda of political reformation, in order to fit into the spirit of democracy and human rights. 8 Freedom of speech, information and the press is the most striking example of this transformation. The numbers of newspapers, magazines, radio stations and other new media has been increasing since the fall of Suharto, and now people can talk and express their opinion freely in public spaces. 9 Another story is the rapid development and expansion of civil society. 10 The role of civil society and NGOs has been influential since the New Order era in democratizing Indonesia. 11 Nowadays, various NGOs with different focuses, ranging from faith-based social organizations to right-based pressure groups, have flourished and contributed to the advancement of democratization process in Indonesia.

Freer political and economic activities also transformed the social life of Indonesian society. The question of Chinese Indonesians and other minorities was one of the main concerns for the betterment of democracy and minority groups in multicultural Indonesia. Thus, anti-discrimination legislation was introduced in the line of this spirit. 12 Another valuable improvement is despite various Islamist sentiments from some hard-line Islamic groups, majority rules. A study conducted by Saiful Mujani, a noted political scientist in Indonesia shows that political reformation and democratization has increased as much as the level of religiosity of Indonesian Muslims.13 Problems of ethno-religious conflicts and separatist movements in some regions have mostly been solved. Peace agreements with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) included special autonomy and local political parties in Aceh province were some of the political breakthroughs in settling conflicts in Indonesia. 14

What Indonesia should work on in the near future?

Despite of its tremendous accomplishments, a fully-functioning democracy in Indonesia is still not there yet. In the case of the latest election for example, though it was largely free, fair and peaceful, the tension among the presidential candidates was inevitable. 15 Alleged frauds and manipulations, unhealthy competition and empty campaign are only some issues that have to be solved for the next election.

The old story of collusion, corruption and nepotism (KKN in Indonesian language) is also still popular. 16 The case of Bank Century is an example how state supervision is still weak in watching financial and banking activities. 17Bank Century, a private bank in Indonesia, is accused of misusing its customers’ money. One of its owners got arrested by the police and sentenced to four years in prison. 18 What makes the whole issue became more complicated is the public perception that the root of all problems is the weak control from the government, especially the central bank. Hence, the government policy to bailout the bank was politically and legally problematic. This situation is worsened by the case of Azahari Azhar, the inactive chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), who has been arrested on suspicion of murder of Nasrudin Zulkarnaen, a prominent businessman. 19 This situation has become more complicated by Azhar’s testimony in which he mentioned that some KPK’s leaders also received bribes in the investigation of corruption in an integrated radio communications system project. 20 The testimony and several other cases finally led into the investigation of KPK’s leaders by the national police. 21 This is a huge irony because in the middle of building a solid foundation for the rule of law, clean government and meritocracy, many problems seem to thwart this effort.

Other two tasks of Indonesia are to tackle natural calamities and democratize the economy. Indonesia’s geographical area, which is archipelagic and located in the meeting point of two major tectonic plates, is the reason why Indonesians should learn to live with disasters.22 The latest earthquakes in major islands such as Java and Sumatera is the momentum for the government to prove its capacity in handling non-traditional security issues. 23 The story of post-crisis Indonesian economic development, although it performs quite well, should not neglect the fact that basic social service and provision such as healthcare, housing and education is inadequate and the widening gap between the poor and the rich has to be reduced. 24 Good investment climates, fair regulations and less corruption is some key points in enhancing the economy

The rise of growing religious fundamentalism and violence is also a big hurdle for the healthy development of democracy in Indonesia. Various Islamic fundamentalist groups, such as the international Hizbut Tahrir, the vigilante Islamic Defender Front (FPI) and Majelis Mujahiddin Indonesia (MMI), which is used to be backed by Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, a prominent conservative Islamic cleric, are getting more popular. 25 Persecution and violence against minority in the name of religion and blasphemy are becoming trend. Ahmadiyya, an unorthodox Islamic group who has coexisted in Indonesia with other elements of Indonesia had to face numerous persecutions and violent attacks because its teachings are considered blasphemous and heretic. 26 This situation has led to a crisis when the tension between Islamic fundamentalist and conservative groups and the liberal and pluralist camp reached its peak in the so-called Monas (National Monument) Incident on July 1, 2008. 27The tragic fact is that the peaceful rally to campaign and reaffirm the importance of pluralism and tolerance, which was held on the same day of the birthday of Pancasila-Indonesia’s national principles in nation building, was contaminated by violent actions. There is an important fact showed in the study of the famous Islamic scholar and activist, Luthfi Assyaukanie, which mentioned that there is a strong correlation between violent actions and fatwas (religious opinion by Muslim jurists) from religious clerics. 28 In his thesis, he found that the widespread violent actions find their justifications from these fatwas. The rise of religious bylaws imposed in several regions in Indonesia also undermines the protection of civil and political rights. 29 There have been some complaints because these sharia-based bylaws are considered to be discriminative, especially for women such as the introduction of rajam or adultery stoning in accordance to the strict sharia interpretation in Aceh province. 30When in this kind of situation the government is expected to adhere to the principle of rule of law and takes a clear stance, it seems that instead of imposing such policy the state prefer to ‘play safe’.

Indonesia’s Democracy: Present and Future Trajectory

Indonesia is not a perfect democracy quite yet. The latest election result, which brought victory to the incumbent President Yudhoyono, should be taken as a golden opportunity to strengthen Indonesia’s democracy. 31Indonesia has to learned from the past and reaffirm its national commitment. This effort requires participation and willingness from every elements of Indonesia as a nation. Threats to civil rights, corruption, natural disasters, expanding income disparity and religious fundamentalism are only some of the challenges of contemporary Indonesia.

In the field of international politics, Indonesia should concentrate not only in the regional arena of ASEAN, but also beyond that, something which is called “Post-ASEAN” Foreign Policy by the leading international relations scholar of Indonesia, Rizal Sukma. 32 Its membership in the G-20 means that Indonesia should have a say and contribute more in international affairs. 33 Indonesia’s soft power is expanding now, and through various channels such as cultural exchanges, diplomacy and economic activities, it has to work on its international image. 34 Indonesia’s relationship with other countries is also relatively friendly. Though it often competes and has conflicts with its two nearest neighbors, Singapore and Malaysia, generally speaking it maintains good relationship with many countries. The visit of US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is a proof of how the Western world is now seeing Indonesia as a strategic partner and connecting bridge between the West and the rest of the world, particularly Asia and Middle East. 35

Indonesia’s success in Southeast Asia as the only working democracy in the region is also good news. 36 As a nation with strategic interests and role in world affairs, it deserves a better image. The answer for this problem is very simple: the combination of liberal democracy, market economy and moderate Islam as the three key principles in building a democratic Indonesia. These three points are related to one another. In order to defend and preserve Indonesian multiculturalism, democracy is needed as an instrument to guarantee civil rights of its citizens. Nevertheless, the protection of civil and political rights will be impossible without the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights. Thus, market economy with social protection is needed in order to promote competitiveness and increase growth and prosperity of the nation. The last but not the least is the use of spiritual and cultural values as the moral basis for the system. A moderate and tolerant interpretation of Islam has long become the mainstream of Indonesia’s religious life, which is also the core element for social capital and democratic politics in Indonesia. Despite all the challenges that Indonesia faces, as long as it follows these principles, the Indonesian future will remain bright.

Iqra Anugrah is a third year student in College of Asia Pacific Studies, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, majoring in political science and international relations. He is a member of the Advisory Board for Strategic Studies Committee for Indonesian Students’ Association in Japan (PPI Jepang). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the PPI Jepang.


  1. Long, Simon. (2009, September 12-18). A golden chance: A special report on Indonesia. The Economist, pp. 1-18  
  2. Ibid.  
  3. Ibid.  
  4. “Indonesia Police: Terrorism mastermind killed in raid” USA Today. 17 September 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-09-16-indonesia_N.htm  
  5. “UBS says Indonesia’s economic growth to reach 6 percent in 2010, 2011” iStockAnalyst. 28 October 2009. Retieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/3585843#  
  6. Simamora, Adianto P. and Maulida, Erwida. (2009, February 320). “Clinton, UN praise RI role in global climate talks” The Jakarta Post. Retrieved October 30,2009,from http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/02/20/clinton-un-praise-ri-role-global-climate-talks.html  
  7. “Scoping Indonesia’s Next President”.(2009). Indonesia Election Watch 2009. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Indonesia Programme. Retrieved October 30, from http://www.rsis.edu.sg/Indonesia_Prog/pdf/IndonesiaElectionWATCH_2009_ISSUE12.pdf  
  8. See Chapter XA and XI of The 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia http://www.mpr.go.id/index.php?m=beritas=detail&id_berita=41  
  9. “Radio Development and Indonesia’s Democratic Transition”. World Bank. Retrieved October, 30 2009 from http://blogs.worldbank.org/publicsphere/radio-development-and-indonesias-democratic-transition  
  10. Harney, Stefano & Olivia, Rita. (2003). Civil Society and Civil Society Organizations in Indonesia. International Labor Office, Geneva http://www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/ses/download/docs/civil.pdf  
  11. Bunnel, Frederick. (1996). Community Participation, Indigenous Ideology, Activist Politics: Indonesian NGOs In The 1990s. In Lev, Daniel S., & McVey, Ruth (Ed.), Making Indonesia (pp. 180-201). New York: Cornell Southeast Asia Program.  
  12. Hoon, Chang-Yau. (2004). Ethnic Chinese experience a ‘reawakening’ of their Chinese identity. Inside Indonesia, 78, http://insideindonesia.org/content/view/237/29/  
  13. Mujani, Syaiful. (2003). Religious Democrats: Democratic Culture and Muslim Political Participation in Post-Suharto Indonesia. Ohio: Ohio State University  
  14. “Aceh Peace Process Negotiations”.(n.d.). Crisis Management Initiative. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.cmi.fi/?content=aceh_project  
  15. Siswo, Sujadi. (2009, February 12). Rising tensions between Indonesian president and VP ahead of elections. Channel News Asia. Retrieved October 30, 2009, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/408371/1/.html  
  16. Suryani, Luh De & Prathivi, Niken. (2009, April 17). Female coalition to report election fraud. The Jakarta Post. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/04/17/female-coalition-report-election-fraud.html-0  
  17. Guerin,Bill. (2007, Mar 29). Politics of corruption in indonesia. Asia Times. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/IC29Ae01.html  
  18. “VP: Arrest those responsible in Bank Century case”.(2008, November 2008). Antara News. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.antara.co.id/en/view/?i=1227857533&c=NAT&s=  
  19. Sutarto. (2009, September 10). Jakarta Court Throws Owner of Bank Century To Prison. Tempointeractive. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.tempo.co.id/hg/kriminal/2009/09/10/brk,20090910-197296,uk.html  
  20. “Former Chairman of KPK Antasari Charged With Premeditated Murder” Bernama News Agency. 8 October 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsworld.php?id=445351  
  21. Fitzpatrick, Steven. (2009, October 9). Jakarta’s anti-graft boss Antasari Azhar on trial for murder. The Australian. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26184123-25837,00.html  
  22. Abdussalam, Andi. (2009, October 31). KPK deputies’ arrest sparks speculation about police’s motive. Antara News. Retrieved October 31, 2009 from http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/1256944315/kpk-deputies-arrest-sparks-speculation-about-polices-motive  
  23. Elliot, Lorraine. (2009). Human Security: A Response to the Climate Security Debates. RSIS Commentaries  
  24. Indonesia Earthquake Situation Report. (2009). ReliefWeb. Retrieved from http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2009.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/MYAI-7WQ2U3-full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf  
  25. Maulia, Erwida. (2008). Income gap widens in Indonesia, most other countries: ILO. Asia News Network. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.asianewsnet.net/news.php?sec=2&id=3151  
  26. “Indonesia’s Muslim Militants” BBC News. 8 August 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2333085.stm  
  27. Avonius, Leena. (2009). The Ahmadiyya and Freedomn of Religion in Indonesia. ISIM Review, 22, 48-49  
  28. Astuti, Fatima. (2008). Fallout from Jakarta’s Monas Incident: What is to be done with fringe groups?. RSIS Commentaries  
  29. Assyaukanie, Luthfi. (2009). Fatwa and Violence in Indonesia. Journal of Religion and Society, 11, 11-21  
  30. Assyaukanie, Luthfi. (2007). The Rise of Religious Bylaws in Indonesia. RSIS Commentaries  
  31. “Aceh passes adultery stoning law” BBC News. 14 September 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8254631.stm  
  32. “Indonesia Election Results” MedanKu.com. 11 April 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.medanku.com/indonesia-election-results/  
  33. Sukma, Rizal. (2009, June 30). Indonesia needs a post-ASEAN foreign policy. The Jakarta Post. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/06/30/indonesia-needs-a-postasean-foreign-policy.html  
  34. Parnohadiningrat, Sudjadnan. (2009, April 3). Indonesia and the G20. The Jakarta Post. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/04/03/indonesia-and-g20.html  
  35. Tangkilisan, Wim. (2009, June 23). Which of the Presidential Candidates Gives Indonesia a ‘Soft Power’ Edge. The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved October 30, 2009 from http://thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/which-of-the-presidential-candidates-gives-indonesia-a-soft-power-edge/313931  
  36. Hume, Cameron R. (2009, Feb 20). Secretary’s Clinton Successful Indonesia Visit. US Department of State Official Blog http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/clintons_indonesia_visit/  

Perspectives on a New Era Symposium held at APU

On Saturday, November 21, 2009, APU has successfully organized the “Perspectives on a New Era-Japan, America and China” Symposium. This symposium was held at the Millennium Hall in commemorating the APU 10thAnniversary and Confucius Institute 3rd Anniversary.

The symposium invited Asahi Shimbun Editor-in-Chief and APU Visiting Professor, Funabashi Yoichi; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ORIX Corporation and APU Academic Advisory Committee Member, Miyauchi Yoshihiko; Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to China, Anami Koreshige; Dean of Faculty of Law, Keio University and Former President of the Japan Association of International Relations, Professor Kokubun Ryosei; and Founding President of APU and Professor of Ritsumeikan University, Sakamoto Kazuichi.

APU President Monte Cassim and Former Prime Minister of Japan and Confucius Institute Advisor Mr. Murayama Tomiichi opened the symposium by giving a few words in the opening remarks. The symposium was also attended by Former Governor of Oita Prefecture, Hiramatsu Morihiko.

The first session of the symposium began with keynote speech from Professor Funabashi. In his lecture, he mentioned future of the world lies in the Asia Pacific. America will continue to play an important role in the Asia. Nevertheless, we can see the rise of China and Japan as a sign that Asia is now ready to serve as the co-driver in global society. Therefore, he argued that cooperation will be essential in the future.

The second part of the symposium continued with panel discussions with Professor Funabashi, Mr. Miyauchi, Professor Kokubun and Ambassador Anami. The discussion was moderated by Profesor Sakamoto and dealt with three important international issues: world economic order, environmental and energy problems and the Korean peninsula. Most of the discussion time, however, was dedicated for international political economic order, particularly about the rise of China and its impacts to global economy, especially in post-crisis world.

Finally, the symposium was ended by question and answer session to the whole audience, which is not consisted by APU students only but Beppu citizens as well. The whole event was conducted in Japanese and simultaneous English interpretation was provided during the symposium.

Generally speaking, APU has been quite successful in organizing this program. Nonetheless, there were some complaints regarding the symposium from the students and audience. The most disturbing problem probably was the quality of English interpretation. Poor translation sometimes could change the meaning or content of the lecture. Moreover, the time provided for the panel discussion was inadequate. Not all of the topics assigned for the panel session were fully discussed. But after all, APU has proven its capacity as an international university by hosting this kind of event. In order to improve its role as an academic institution and contribute to society, we hope we can see more academic seminars and symposiums at APU, especially after ten years of its establishment.

Iqra Anugrah, APS ‘11

Published in The APU Times, 24 December 2009 http://aputimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=187:perspectives-on-a-new-era-symposium-held-at-apu&catid=1:academic-news&Itemid=187&lang=en

Editorial: Keep Moving Forward in Transparency and Harmony

Dear readers,

Though a month has passed beyond our two and half-month-long winter vacation, the APU Times proudly presents its first and newest edition for the Spring Semester 2010. In the midst of uncertain weather and fluctuating temperature of Mount Jumonjibaru, APU Times family has always been committed to its mission by being aligned to the principle of the free flow of information from the students, by the students and for the students.

As an active learning community, APU students have directly or indirectly been participating in various events going on and off the campus; Beppu city in particular. In this edition, we have covered various fascinating issues, ranging from different student activities to the hidden information behind ‘business as usual’ at APU. Investigative journalism being the most important frontier of our task, we have a belief that harmony in such a multicultural community as APU will only survive if it holds the principle of transparency.

We have the desire to expand our coverage and readership as wider as possible. The emergence of new media and web 2.0 are a few signals for us that have compelled us to maintain and improve our quality and widespread dissemination of information. Many people say that the era of newspaper is over, but we believe that the spirit of newspaper will never die. As the one and only student newspaper at APU, we will always uphold the importance of student journalism and public participation in our beloved campus. Not for the sake of individual pursuits, but rather, to reveal the truth and spread the factual news to every one of us. This is why we are extensively promoting our online access to the newspaper from this time on. With the promise to keeping it updated in the days to come, we hope that more and more people, within and beyond APU community, will visit and access our website more frequently.

Like many other student organizations, we do still lack full vigor to approach towards perfection. Administration and management of the newspaper has always been the biggest challenge for every one of us, especially for the ‘noise-makers’ (the executive committee of this newspaper who is responsible for giving the final shape to this newspaper). However, whenever we see people come and approach us and say, “I want to join this circle”, or simply give feedbacks and suggestions for our further improvement, we really feel like being appreciated for all our efforts.

With this, The APU Times wishes everyone a wonderful spring semester 2010! As the new semester has already began, we hope that we can march forward towards a transparent and harmonious APU community.

*By Iqra Anugrah, Editor-in-chief of The APU Times, 8 May 2010 http://aputimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=225:keep-moving-forward-in-transparency-and-harmony&catid=13:talks&Itemid=202&lang=en

How (not) to drop the Bomb

How (not) to drop the Bomb

The Obama administration recently has just restarted the process toward nuclear warheads reduction in the world. Following his speech last year in Prague, Obama tried to put his commitment against the threat of nuclear weapons into action by organizing the Nuclear Security Summit last week. With the introduction of New START-stands for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty-between the US and Russia, the number of nuclear warheads will be gradually reduced to 1,550, which is about two-thirds from the original START treaty.

Indeed, this might be the sign of new approach of security and foreign policy of the US, especially in terms of the usage of nuclear weapons. Under Obama administration, the US has step by step tried to eliminate the role of nuclear in its national security. Classical approach of nuclear deterrence will not be applied even though some particular states attack the US using chemical and biological weapons – the Bush administration, on the other hand, still upheld the right to use nuclear weapons against such actions. Nuclear option will only be launched if the attacking state is a nuclear state, or a violator of the NPT.

This is why the latest summit still left unanswered questions of North Korea and Iran-the former definitely owns and possesses nuclear weapons while the latter is alleged to develop nuclear weapons.

The biggest challenge for this talk, then, is to proof itself how different it is compared to previous treaties. This will also define the future of nuclear states and the role of nuclear-centric security policy, especially in the era of changing global constellation.

Some complexities have been added to the discussion process in regards to the inexhaustible issues of North Korea and Iran. What should be taken into consideration is the fact that North Korea and Iran are the by-products of Western unilateral foreign policy.

The fear of so-called nuclear terrorism is another hot topic of the summit. When nuclear weapon goes into the wrong hand, then the world might face a catastrophic future. But, we should remember that it takes an industrial capacity of state to create and maintain nuclear weapons and facilities in a sustainable way. Global terrorist networks, unless publicly and formally supported by some particular states, have little to no possibilities of acquiring or producing nuclear weapon. It should be noted that in the battlefields, conventional weapons are far more popular in the circle of terrorists. In fact, probably the only actor that can kick-off the establishment of nuclear warheads is military-industrial complex of a particular nation.

Nevertheless, the strongest argument against nuclear weapon is its uselessness. Post-WW II world has never witnessed any war using nuclear weapons. The principle of “use by non-use” itself has no direct effect except to perpetuate fear.

Moreover, what the world really needs right now is a sound and carefully-researched foreign policy of the West. Dialogue should be at the forefront of foreign policy, as well as cooperation with international institutions.

Therefore, the latest Nuclear Security Summit deserves to be praised as a concrete solution towards a nuke-free world. Yet, it takes more than a summit to accomplish this goal. A firmer political commitment is essential, not merely to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, but to abolish the existence of nuclear warheads.

This principle should not merely serve as a slogan of be taken for granted. We have seen enough of structural violence in international politics. In order to address this issue, progressive and radical change of our worldview is the key.

First of all, tactical and pragmatic foreign policy strategies are needed in dealing with the NPTS non-signatory states. With its strategic allies in East Asia and the Middle East, the US should be able to handle the nuclear issue more effectively. North Korean case might be a bit difficult, especially talking about the extremely authoritarian nature of the regime, but for Iran the process might be different, especially considering strategic interests of Arab states who do not want to see Iran possessing nuclear warheads.

Secondly, regional issues, especially in the Middle East, should be settled at the same time. While the Western powers are still in Afghanistan and Iraq, the nation-building process of these countries must continue. Western policymakers, especially US, should also pay attention to the current issue of Israeli settlements which potentially can be another obstacle of the peace process and interests of involving states. If these two challenges can be resolved, then the possibility of growing terrorist groups which may try to get nuclear weapons or Iran’s ambition to be a nuclear power can be significantly lowered.

Thirdly, Obama should clearly show and explain his position while at the same time take a firmer stance toward unnecessary disturbances caused by lobbying groups at domestic levels. Lobbying groups do not represent the voice of citizens, but rather vested interests of some groups within society. It requires a committed leadership for nuclear abolition against domestic political pressure.

This policy is not an attempt to create utopia or earthly heaven. This is simply an attempt to create a better world for humanity and our children. Even though it is not possible to achieve the goal, at least we can make a difference for a more peaceful, tolerant world, no matter how small it is.

Iqra Anugrah (APS3, 2011) Published in The APU Times, 8 May 2010 http://aputimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=218:how-(not)-to-drop-the-bomb&catid=13:talks&Itemid=202&lang=en

Editorial: Moving Ahead with The APU Times

The APU Times has enthused leap and bounds within the span of three years of short history. Established in 2007 by a few visionary who advocated for the right to information of students, it established itself as a true university newspaper. Despite the economic and human resources problems, it rose to become one of the top rated non premiere organizations of APU.

This was a time of ‘trial and error’ in the management of the circle. From its infantry, it strived to provide the best for the students and University alike. It came up with unique ideas like exchanges with other university newspapers, organizing workshops and did some experiments with the contents. Now, we feel a sense of glory to be where we are. Thanks to the ever increasing love and comments from our valued readers, the APU Times is only more committed to give more to its readers and working for the betterment of APU either by highlighting its achievements or bringing forth the issues which must be addressed properly.

It is not only the APU Times that is involved in this process. Various student organizations like circles, different assistants like LA, TA, SA, RA, and SPA among others strive continually to ease the student’s life in APU. In this process, the ‘noise-makers’ (the executive committee of the APU Times, as it is popularly called) has decided to value the contribution given by these organizations and dedicate some of its limited space to inform the students about their activities and messages.

The APU Times would like to take this opportunity to cooperate with all the other institutions which share the common aim of creating a better APU. It would also like to request all those organizations to promote their activities through the newspapers which is widely read among the students, while at the same time, help students get information with ease. The APU Times is eagerly looking forward for warm hands.

With this, The APU Times wishes everybody a very prosperous and meaningful 2010 and appeals all the organizations for close cooperation. The new dawn begins. The earlier we wake up, the more sunlight we can have.

*By Iqra Anugrah, Editor-in-Chief of The APU Times, Published 21 January 2010 http://aputimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=198:editorial.-moving-ahead-with-the-apu-times&catid=9:circles&Itemid=14&lang=en

The Decline of the West, the Rise of the Rest?

Book Review: The New Asian Hemisphere by Kishore Mahbubani

By Iqra Anugrah, APS3, 2011

Looking into our daily life, it seems that world is moving very fast. The winner today might be the loser tomorrow. Since the future is always uncertain, the dominator has always to be careful because the other may catch-up the position. In this kind of situation, new order will emerge, and cooperation will be the answer. This narrative is exactly the condition of our global politics today, as eloquently presented in The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East by Kishore Mahbubani, Former Singaporean Ambassador for the United Nations and Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore.

Coming from Singapore, Mahbubani knows how Asia tries to develop and catch-up with Western power. Mahbubani argued that the strategy is to mix the best practice of the West within the framework of Asian values, something that he called as ‘Asian Pragmatism’ in his words. Nevertheless, as the rest of the world increase the speed of progress, the West feel challenged. In Mahbubani’s view, this is the proof of Western inconsistence and incompetence. In his words, the West should be happy that their mission to “civilize” other societies is successful. However, this mission brings another unexpected consequence: rising geopolitical power of Asian countries.  The West, particularly US, reluctant to see this, is massively trying to stop others from taking its position as the leader of the world. In other words, Western values are often not in the line with Western interests. This is why the high-speed growth of China and India is seen as threat.

In response to this phenomenon, Mahbubani answers with a very convincing statement: the West should respect other values and see the rest of the world as its partner. The failure of democratization of the Middle East for example, is happened because of Western ignorance to establish election without necessary democratic institutions and cultures such as rights of minority and rule of law. For Mahbubani, Asia already succeeded in applying best practices from the West, such as free-market economics, meritocracy, rule of law, culture of peace and education. Thus, it is the time for Asia not to dominate, but replicate Western success, and be the co-driver of human civilization. The solution, then, is to apply the three Ps: common principles for peaceful co-existence, partnership for the future, and pragmatism in solving the problem.

Until now, probably we can say that Mahbubani is one of the best representatives of the East to Western world. In his book, he showed the arrogance of the West, particularly US in dealing with other nations in international context. He showed how the West has been incompetent in answering today’s problems, and how Asian competence could be the answer to that problem. However, there are some things that we should keep in mind: although we probably have been successful, we should not close our eyes to lack of freedom in the so-called Asian societies. If we can have an open market, that why don’t we have open politics? If we can have free flow information, then doesn’t it mean that we should have free society? Recent movements and reforms in several Asian countries for greater freedom are the real proof. We already accomplished great achievements, and we can do even more. Mahbubani’s thesis brings a clear message for us: aim higher, and never abandon our hope.

*Published in The APU Times 21 January 2010 http://aputimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=213:the-decline-of-the-west,-the-rise-of-the-rest%3F&catid=2:insight&Itemid=189&lang=en

Exclusive Interview with Former President of APU, Prof. Monte Cassim

As a part of the change in the executive postings of the Ritsumeikan Trust, Professor Monte Cassim will end his tenure as the President of APU. This time, The APU Times had an opportunity to know more about his experience, ideas and opinions on the development in Asia Pacific.

First of all, can you tell briefly about yourself and your career history?

Initially I enrolled in the course of natural science with focus on physics and chemistry. At that time, the new department of architecture was opened. I was attracted to architecture because it combines various aspects from science, engineering and arts. So I decided to study architecture. Upon graduation, I decided to work as an architect.

Why you decided to go to Japan? What is the most interesting thing about Japan for you?

At first, I went to Japan for graduate study. However, I realized that I learned more by observing the surrounding situation outside the classroom. I started to fall in love with Japanese industries. The most important question for me was why everywhere you go in Japan you can find lots of small industries that they can proud of? Then I started to learn more about Japan’s industrial history, process and technology in relation to its rapid development.

And after that?

I began to work for a frontline think-tank in Japan. The unique thing about it was its ‘hybrid’ team of young foreign scholars and Japanese professionals under the lead of professors. Our work was to find some particular regions and research how those regions grow. The result of this will be applied to other regions especially in developing areas. In other words, our task was to search for industrial development model for Asia. That was why we chose rural areas because it would be more ideal for developing countries. It was in 1970s, and what we did was thinking about what Asia will be in 1990s.

That must be really fascinating! So you continued to work on that field?

Because I was interested to work immediately after finishing my study, I quitted the job. I took up teaching position in Penang, Malaysia for one year. After that, I continued my study to PhD in Japan level and worked for Mitsui Corporation for another two years. Actually it was difficult to me to move around for working and I was kind of reluctant to move again for another job. Besides, I already had family at that time and I had to take care of my children. Nevertheless, various opportunities kept coming to me. A head of UN organization in Tokyo offered me another job. After a long time of contemplating, I agreed to take that job and work for 10 years in the field of urban development, housing and industrial development. I conducted strategic assistant programs in Indonesia, Latin America and Africa.

Hearing your rich and diverse experience will surely motivate every one of us. Having experienced various kinds of responsibilities, what is the most important learning point for you?

Looking back to my experience, especially during my time as a researcher, I was really impressed by the enabling learning environment. It was a rare opportunity to have variety of people with different backgrounds, nationalities and field of studies to think and work together and do something meaningful. This experience is the reason why I am interested in education. This is why I received another chance from the Ritsumeikan Trust to teach at Ritsumeikan University.

How long have you been working with the Ritsumeikan Trust and APU? What did you do during that time?

I worked at Ritsumeikan for six years and developed Ritsumeikan International Division and Discovery Research Laboratory. My work mainly focused on health and environmental science. During my time we transformed the international division into one of the biggest administrative unit, and I also dealt with the development of human and environmentally friendly technology in the laboratory.

Then, I took up the position of president at APU for six years term. Of course I did few mistakes, but I really learned many things from this experience.

As a former president of APU, what is one of the most remarkable achievements of our university from your perspective?

We allocate 64% of our budget for education, research and scholarship, and now we are the number nine private university in Japan in terms of financial health.

What is your advice for our university students and community?

The sky is the limit. Dream and dare to do what you dream of!

*By Iqra Anugrah. Published in The APU Times 21 January 2010 http://aputimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=197:exclusive-interview-with-former-president-of-apu,-prof.-monte-cassim&catid=1:academic-news&Itemid=187&lang=en