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Monash University confers an honorary doctorate on the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia

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13 February 2013

Monash University has conferred an honorary degree on the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency Professor Dr Boediono.

The honorary Doctorate of Laws was conferred at an official ceremony at the Vice Presidential Palace in Jakarta, attended by almost 200 dignitaries including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian ministers and the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr Greg Moriarty.

Vice President Boediono, who holds a Master of Economics degree from Monash, became Vice President in 2009. Prior to this he held a number of prestigious positions, including Governor of the Indonesian central bank, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of Finance, and State Minister for National Development Planning. He has served as a Professor of Economics at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.

Monash University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Ed Byrne, said the University was extremely proud to confer the doctorate. He said the Vice President had played a key role in strengthening democracy in Indonesia, guiding economic growth, and in reducing inequities.

"The progress of Australia is intimately linked with that of our neighbours," Professor Byrne said.

"Under Vice President Boediono's leadership, South-East Asia's largest economy has flourished despite global uncertainty. The Vice President has driven a number of important reforms to assist the development not only of Indonesia, but of our region."

In his acceptance address, Vice President Boediono referred to the strong relations between Australia and Indonesia and to the value of undertaking his tertiary education in Australia.

“Today is undoubtedly one of the most memorable days in my life,” the Vice President said.

Speaking more broadly about his role in introducing democratic processes in Indonesia, the Vice President said: “Have we made progress in making democracy work in this country? I think we have, though still with some qualifications. Let us take the most fundamental element of democracy: freedom of expression. The present constitution has unambiguously reaffirmed our freedom of speech and the unimpeded flow of information. Our press is now one of the freest in the world.

“I think I am justified in saying that we have managed to undo many corrosive practices of the past. Government policies are now more open to examination. Monopoly-granting power is no longer entrenched, nor is flagrant nepotism or blatant cronyism.

“The rule of law has been improving, albeit gradually. True, corruption remains a malignant cell in Indonesian society. But our law enforcement agencies, including the powerful KPK – the independent commission against corruption – have been very active in uncovering and pursuing corruption cases.  One important, if underappreciated, achievement is that an increasingly uncongenial atmosphere to corrupt practices is now being created

“Our democracy is consolidating. It is a work in progress and much remains to be done.”

The conferral ceremony capped off a remarkable visit to Indonesia for senior members of Monash University.

During three days in Jakarta:

  • Monash announced that it had been appointed by the United Nations to help drive the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in Asia. The SDSN aims to mobilise expertise from all sectors to address the global challenges of ending poverty, increasing social inclusion, and sustaining the planet. The Indonesian Government has agreed to begin discussions with Monash on ways to improve sustainability programs between the two nations.

  • The University signed an agreement with Telkom Indonesia to provide MBA programs for Telkom executives.

  • New or updated partnership agreements were signed with Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Universitas Padjadjaran and Institut Teknologi Bandung.

  • The University signed a partnership agreement with the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, an outstanding research body headed by Professor Sangkot Marzuki.

  • Leaders from government, academia and business took part in formal dialogues centred on four big issues in Indonesia – public health, sustainable development, education, and innovation and leadership. The outcomes of the dialogues are shaping ongoing discussions between Monash University and government leaders.

Over the 50-year history of Monash University, honorary degrees have been presented to dignitaries including:

  • Nobel Laureate Professor Dan Shechtman (2012).
  • Business leader Sir Rod Eddington (2011).
  • Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (2010).
  • Musician Nick Cave and architect John Denton (2007).
  • Author David Williamson (1990).
  • Mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (1985).
  • His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (1981).

For further information or to request interviews, contact Monash Media and Communications on +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu.

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