The UCLA Indonesian Studies Program was created in 2008 through a generous gift from The Robert Lemelson Foundation.  It is housed within the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies under the UCLA International Institute. Since 2016, Julia Gouw has been providing support to sustain and expand the program.

The purpose of the Indonesian Studies Program is to support the study of Indonesia at UCLA through conferences, lectures, and student fellowships. The program promotes deeper understanding of Indonesia and its global significance.

Read more: Highlights from the UCLA Indonesian Studies Program

The Indonesian Studies Program has these main components:

  • It provides grants to UCLA graduate students to travel to Indonesia to conduct field work and archival research. The recipients are known as Lemelson Fellows. Since 2016, these fellowships are called the Indonesian Studies Travel Grant, funded by Julia Gouw.
  • It sponsors conferences and workshops on Indonesian Studies at UCLA.
  • It brings Indonesian Studies experts to the UCLA campus to conduct research and to enhance the regular curriculum by giving lectures and meeting with students and faculty.
  • Since 2018, it provides a scholarship to UCLA undergraduate students to attend a two-week study abroad and volunteer program in Bali, Indonesia.

In addition, UCLA is the only university in Southern California to offer Indonesian language instruction at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.

From 2008-2015, the Indonesian Studies Program is governed by a faculty steering committee, chaired by Dr. Juliana Wijaya, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures; and including Paul Barber, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Kie Zuraw, Associate Professor of Linguistics. Since 2016, Dr. Wijaya serves as the Indonesian Studies Coordinator.

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. He is also 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 the director of Elemental Productions, a ethnographic documentary film production company.

Julia Gouw served as president and chief operating officer (COO) of East West Bancorp from 2009 through 2016. Its chief asset, East West Bank, is one of the largest independent banks headquartered in California and serves as a financial bridge between the United States and China. Gouw moved to the United States in 1978 and earned a degree in accounting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ranked five times by American Banker magazine as one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking,” Gouw has also twice received the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Women Making a Difference” award. She has been named one of “L.A.’s Top Women in Finance” by the Los Angeles Business Journal and Philanthropist of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners in Los Angeles.




Other Indonesian Programs at UCLA

Other Programs

Research Center Will Be at Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity
UCLA is developing a biodiversity research center in Bali, Indonesia, that will support research and educational collaboration between UCLA and three universities in Indonesia: Udayana University, Diponegoro University and the State University of Papua, as well as the Smithsonian Institution.


Lemelson Fellowships on Indonesia