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UCLA Alumnus, Researcher Backs Indonesian Studies

Generous gifts from Dr. Robert Lemelson beginning in 2008 have established and sustained the UCLA Indonesian Studies Program. Lemelson is a UCLA lecturer and researcher with interdisciplinary interests and a respected documentary filmmaker.

Robert Lemelson

Robert Lemelson, Ph.D., is an anthropologist who received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and his doctorate from the UCLA Department of Anthropology. He is currently a research anthropologist at the Semel Institute of Neurosciences at UCLA and lecturer in the Departments of Anthropology and Psychology.  His areas of specialty are Southeast Asian studies, psychological anthropology, ethnographic film, and transcultural psychiatry. He was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia in 1996–97 and has worked extensively exploring the relationship between culture and health in Bali and Java.

Lemelson is the president and founder of The Foundation for Psychocultural Research, a non-profit research foundation supporting research and training in the neurosciences and social sciences, and director of Elemental Productions, an ethnographic documentary film production company.

A generous gift from Dr. Lemelson in 2008 made possible the UCLA Indonesian Studies Program within the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the International Institute. Since then, he has extended his support of graduate fellowships, conferences and workshops, and visiting scholars hosted by the program. In all, Dr. Lemelson contributed $225,000 to establish a home for Indonesian studies on campus.

Follow these links for information on Lemelson Fellowships on Indonesia for 2010-11 and Indonesian Studies at UCLA. For information about Dr. Lemelson's independent documentary film productions, visit Elemental Productions and see this 2009 interview in UCLA Today. In the interview, Lemelson discusses "40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy," a film that explores the long-term impact of mass killings by the Indonesian government in 1965 through the stories of four survivors.

Lemelson's most recent film, "Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia," has been nominated for a 2010 International Documentary Association (IDA) award in the Limited Series category.