UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Los Angeles honor filmmaker and philanthropist.
To celebrate the fourth year of the Indonesian Studies Program at UCLA, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies hosted a celebratory dinner on January 19, 2012 at the Bar Hayama restaurant in Los Angeles. The special honorees were filmmaker and philanthropist Dr. Robert Lemelson, the generous funder of the program, and the Honorable Hadi Martono, Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia in Los Angeles.
During the dinner, Prof. Michael L. Ross, Director of the Center, thanked Dr. Lemelson for his remarkable commitment to funding Indonesian Studies over an extended period. He pointed out that the four years of the project coincided both with the exciting expansion of relations between the United States and Indonesia and with the unfortunate decrease in funding for Indonesian Studies available from the State of California and the U.S. Department of Education. Because of the Program's existence, UCLA has been able to participate actively in the field by sponsoring cutting-edge conferences that bring people together with a common interest in Indonesia. Additionally, the Lemelson Fellowships funded by the Program have enabled UCLA to prepare the next generation of exciting young American scholars with Indonesian Studies expertise by assisting them with the cost of their research in Indonesia.
Prof. Ross also thanked Consul General Martono and the Consulate staff for their unstinting support of UCLA and their collaboration on various joint projects on Indonesian culture in Southern California. He expressed the hope that this collaboration would continue long into the future.
Consul General Martono responded by expressing his thanks to UCLA for its commitment to the teaching of Indonesian language, and to Dr. Lemelson for his long support of Indonesian Studies. He said, "It is indeed a great effort and a real proof of the closeness that Indonesia has in Pak Lemelson’s heart." He continued, "I do hope that Bapak Lemelson has the same feeling as President Obama who said, 'Indonesia adalah bagian dari diri saya' or 'Indonesia is part of my life.'” Addressing Prof. Ross, and Dr. Juliana Wijaya, UCLA's Indonesian language instructor, the Consul General said, "The Consulate General is willing to do its best to support the Indonesian language class in the future." He closed by wishing all the best to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
Also present at the dinner was Prof. Geoffrey Robinson of the UCLA Department of History. Prof. Robinson organized the 2011 Indonesian Studies conference on the topic, "Legacies of Violence in Indonesia and East Timor." The 2012 conference is being organized by two UCLA graduate students, Gustav Brown of the Department of Sociology and Kimberly Clair of Women's studies. The conference is scheduled for April 27-28, 2012 on the topic "Indonesia in Global and Transnational Perspective." Brown and Clair gave a short update on the progress on the conference to the assembled guests.
Other attendees at the dinner were some of the 2011 Lemelson Fellowship recipients, who briefly reported on their research in Indonesia: Jennifer Goldstein, Department of Geography; Dahlia Gratia Setiyawan, Department of History; and James White, Department of Linguistics.