Understanding Near Neighbors fellowships: Exploring Islam, climate change and reconstruction

May 2010

Indonesia’s response to climate change, the green credentials of Islam, and on-going reconstruction in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami were the major themes of the 2010 study tour by eight Australian journalists, which was undertaken as part of APJC’s Understanding Near Neighbours Fellowships scheme.

The 18-day program featured a day of dialogue between Indonesian and Australian journalists in Bogor, where the journalists shared perceptions of how media of each country reports news and issues, and discussed legal and ethical challenges they face as journalists.

The program, supported by the Myer Foundation, was designed to give Australian journalists greater insight into cultural, political and social issues in Indonesia.

As part of their reporting on in Aceh, fellows visited the Babuunajah orphanage, run by the Organisation of Islamic Countries and the Islamic Relief Project, which cares for victims of the tsunami and separatist conflict.

Their program in Jakarta included visits to Indonesia’s first online news provider and influential broadcaster and training organisation Radio 68H.

APJC fellows:


Mr John Cheetham, training editor Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney
Ms Christine Flatley, Australian Associated Press, Brisbane
Ms Jennifer Macey, current affairs and The World Today reporter ABC, Sydney
Ms Selma Milovanovic, legal affairs reporter The Age, Melbourne
Ms Victoria Shepherd, health reporter/ columnist The Advertiser, Adelaide
Ms Margaret Smithurst, presenter/ journalist Australia Network, Melbourne
Ms Courtney Trenwith, journalist, Brisbane


Mr Winston Rondo, freelance journalist and refugee advocate CIS Timor, West Timor
Ms Diah Pitaloka, Bandung