Charting Their Own Course: How Indonesians See the World


About the Seminar

With Asia being buffeted by intensifying great power rivalries, Indonesia faces rising expectations and pressure to take on a greater role in both regional and global affairs. The Indonesian government sees its chairmanship of the G20 this year and ASEAN next year as important opportunities to demonstrate its leadership ambitions. But much less is known about how Indonesian citizens see the world. Public opinion sets the parameters for policy making in any democracy. As such, the Lowy Institute conducted a nationwide, face-to-face survey of 3,000 Indonesians in December 2021 to understand how Indonesians see their region, the wider world, and the main challenges to their security.

Co-organised with the Lowy Institute, this seminar aims to discuss the key findings obtained from this public opinion poll conducted in Indonesia. It aims to offer key insights into how the citizens of one of Asia’s most important rising nations perceive their neighbours, US-China competition, the major threats facing Indonesia, and Indonesia’s position in this increasingly contested world. This seminar will be a hybrid in-person/webinar event.

About the Speakers

Ben Bland is the Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Lowy Institute. He is the author of Man of Contradictions: Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia (Penguin Random House, 2020). He has written multiple analysis papers examining the state of Indonesian democracy and the potential for the Australia-India-Indonesia trilateral relationship. He also regularly writes opinion pieces for many international media organisations, including Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, the New York Times, Nikkei Asia and Reuters. Before joining the Lowy Institute, Ben was an award-winning foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, and experienced reporting across China and Southeast Asia over the previous decade. He has a Master’s in Southeast Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Cambridge.

Natasha Kassam is the Director of the Lowy Institute’s Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program, directing the annual Lowy Institute Poll and researching China’s politics, Taiwan, and Australia-China relations. She is also a Fellow of the ANU National Security College’s Futures Council for 2020- 2021 and a member of the Advisory Board for the University of Melbourne’s Asian Law Centre. Prior to joining the Lowy Institute, Natasha was an Australian diplomat in China and Solomon Islands. She was part of the drafting team for the Australian government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons I) and a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of Sydney.


This is a hybrid event that will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

Apple Store

Play Store

Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

[Please note that vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) for entry into ISEAS was implemented with effect from 1 Feb 2022. Only fully vaccinated, recovered, or medically ineligible individuals are allowed to attend this event in-person at ISEAS once they present verification of their status.]

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.

If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


Apr 25 2022


2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar