Discussing ASEAN: Indonesian Students in Spain’s Conference on International Relations

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ICOAS conference in March 2018. Photo by author.

If you think Indonesian students abroad only think about grades and fun, think again. PPI Spanyol (Indonesian Students Association in Spain) wanted to do more than just holding gatherings and dance sessions, they held a conference on International Relations where international delegates shared their insight on ASEAN and published insightful papers for the world to know. Our contributor, Mahir, shared about the eventful festivities.

Studying far away from their home country does not restrain Indonesian students in Spain to gather and successfully organize an international academic forum. PPI Spanyol (Indonesian Students Association in Spain), for example, hosted the International Conference on ASEAN Studies (ICOAS)  back in March 2018. This conference was inspired by ASEAN’S 50th anniversary and the long journey in which the members have implemented related cooperation and achieved their goals together.

ICOAS was not an internal event. In fact, the conference was organized under the collaboration of PPI Spanyol, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, and the University of Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta. The international conference that took place on March 20th to March 24th 2018 was also supported by Indonesian Embassy in Madrid, Spain, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and One Asia Foundation.

Featuring the main theme ‘Re-reading Southeast Asia: a multi-perspective approach’, the conference featured the General Director for ASEAN Cooperation, Jose Antonio Morato to present his keynote speech. HE Philippe Jones Lhuillier, the Philippines’ Ambassador in Spain, was also present at the event.

The highlighted topics we discussed were the development of ASEAN and the potential of the region from various perspectives, including how to strengthen and deepen the ASEAN cooperation and the emergence of new sea issues in the region and its impact on members’ dynamic and cooperation.

We also discussed the region’s political economy and social cultural challenges. For these two topics, delegates submitted their scientific written article and presented their findings to the public. From there, a total of 42 scientific articles were to be published by Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM) Publishing House and Journal of International Relations of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, which recently received recognition in the ASEAN quotation index.

The conference was concluded with a high hope that ASEAN will continue its cooperation and become more open to  new insights and solutions that might benefit the members. But  it was  not all  work and no play. The conference was closed  by a day tour to Toledo for its delegates and committee members.

The conference was not the only intellectually-provoking  events that PPI Spanyol worked on. In January 2019, the organization held career and skill sharing session with notable alumni in January 2019.  They also held several  thematic webinar sessions on development issues. PPI Spanyol also participated in multiple  cultural events, including Festival  Internacional de Culture held by Korean Women’s International Network in Madrid; joined a roundtable with Indonesian Ministry of Higher Education and Research to discuss the future of Indonesia’s education; joined the worldwide PPI international symposium in Moscow in July 2018; and many more. If you’re studying in Spain and want to learn more about PPI Spanyol, please visit https://ppispanyol.org

 

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Mahir Pradana
Mahir Pradana currently works as a lecturer in Business Administration at Telkom University, Bandung. After obtaining his bachelor degree in Management Science from Universitas Padjadjaran, he pursued his master degree in Business Administration at Universitat Bern, Switzerland. While living in Switzerland, he was chosen as the chief of Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia (PPI) Swiss. Besides working on academic papers, Mahir also has a life in creative writing. Now, he is a PhD student at Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain.