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Leadership programs

Cultivating high-impact leaders in Southeast Asia

We work with Australian and Southeast Asian partners to build capacity in the region through specialised training programs for civil society, the education sector and the public service.

leadership programs

Australia Indonesia Centre. Photo credit: Elly Patterson

From its strategic position within The University of Sydney, the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and its member are well-positioned to share leadership expertise and knowledge with partners in the region.

Our focus is on developing leadership skills specific to each group, ranging from project management and organisational governance for leaders of non-government organisations to influencing policy.

Leadership programs

In January 2016, 24 emerging leaders from disabled people’s organisations across Indonesia visited Sydney for a two-week course on organisational leadership and management practice. Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through its Australia Awards program, the initiative is a vital investment in Indonesia’s disability sector, and provided a life-changing experience for participants, both personally and professionally.

Guided conversations with inspirational leaders such as Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum, former Dean of Sydney Law School and the first visually impaired person appointed to a full professorship in Australia, had tremendous impact on participants’ perceptions of success.

“These two weeks have been full of so much knowledge and so many experiences that have equipped our organisations with the ability to empower and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.”

- Edy Supriyanto SEHATI, Central Java

The course also showcased best practice on accessibility in Australia, which inspired participants to advocate for similar services in Indonesia. Participants undertook site visits to the City of Sydney and the Sydney Cricket Ground, hosted by Sport Matters. These visits provided examples of disability advocacy and accessibility in Australia and enabled participants to better understand partnership models, interact with staff and form useful connections, while visiting a large, accessible sports stadium.

The group embraced these opportunities, particularly the 10-kilometre wheelchair road race held on Australia Day. Participants met with and exchanged experiences (and wheelchairs) with several Paralympians, one of whom led the group on a tour of Sydney’s tourist attractions.

“Today was an extraordinary day, learning directly from these people and seeing what sport can do.”

- Zulhamka Julianto Kadir BILiC, West Java

Participants applied their learning through a return-to-work project. Topics ranged from developing more effective administrative processes to improving social media so that communities can share their stories and better advocate for disability rights. These projects help participants to bring about positive change in their communities.

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s first leadership training initiative saw twenty-five emerging female leaders from Indonesia engage in a two-week course from 15 – 28 March 2015.

Aimed at improving participants’ leadership, management and organisational skills, the course was designed to assist in strengthening partner NGOs of the Australian Government’s Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction (MAMPU) Program funded by through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In addition to learning about the course themes, participants were required to plan and implement a short project. Project topics ranged from monitoring leadership in public institutions to increasing the capacity of field staff and supporting the regeneration of female leadership.

“The training is incredible, it is extremely important for the NGO female leadership cadre in Indonesia. Everyone has the opportunity to be a leader – a leader that must be able to hear, and not just be heard.”

- Juliana

Participants from Aisyiyah – Dahniar Makkaraka Sada, Hajar Nur and Islamiyatur Rakhmah – were one of a number of outstanding groups. Since returning to work, their short course project has prompted them to implement a more participatory management style and create a more progressive empowerment model for their members. Aisyiyah have since developed a women’s empowerment guide to be distributed across Indonesia that focuses on building community knowledge and skills in healthcare and financial management.

During the course, participants attended the Sydney Southeast Asia centre’s inaugural annual forum ‘Women and Leadership from Southeast Asia to Australia’. Lydia Santosa, Jane Brock and Angelica Casado, three female Australian leaders of Southeast Asian background, discussed their views of leadership, the challenges they have faced and what their connection to Southeast Asia means for their leadership experience.

The University of Sydney regularly hosts an executive leadership training course for up to 45 emerging Australian and Indonesian leaders from academia, business, government and the media. The program is held twice annually.

The aim of the program is to engage a highly influential network of emerging leaders from both nations in a program that builds relationships, understandings and the skills to develop solutions to shared national challenges and explore new partnership opportunities.

May 2015: Diplomacy in a Complex World

November 2015: Economic Diplomacy

May 2016: Economic Diplomacy, Energy and Innovation