I congratulate the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII), which this year celebrates

25 years of building understanding and people-to-people links between Australia and Indonesia.

This important anniversary has today been marked with a reception at Parliament House attended by AII program participants, alumni, teachers and students, as well as supporters from the Parliament, the arts, interfaith groups, media and business sectors.

Since the Institute was founded in 1989, Indonesia has undergone extraordinary economic and political transformation. Indonesia’s global and regional influence has expanded greatly, as has its economic strength.

Our two countries have shared strategic, economic and political opportunities in our region. Our partnership will be an increasingly powerful and positive force in our neighbourhood and beyond.

In this context, the AII’s work in building people-to-people ties is more important than ever to sustaining and strengthening our bilateral relationship. For example, the AII’s landmark school partnership program, BRIDGE, is fostering understanding and friendship between the leaders of the future. Since 2008 it has connected over 120,000 young people in schools across both countries.

The Australian Government established the Australia-Indonesia Institute in 1989 to contribute to a more broadly based and enduring relationship between Australia and Indonesia. The 25th anniversary of the AII signifies an important milestone in the strength of the relationship between the people of Australia and Indonesia.

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