On 29-11-2017 to 02-12-2017, ten undergraduate students from Western Sydney University majoring in Humanitarian and Development Studies accompanied by their two lecturers, Dr Zulfan Tadjoeddin and Dr Nichole Georgeou visited Banda Aceh to learn about the emergency, rehabilitation and Aceh’s redevelopment in the context of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the conflict. Under the program named The New Colombo Plan they also visited Jakarta and Yogyakarta as part of the learning about humanitarian and development practices in Indonesia. This study tour was supported by Australian government.
The participants interacted with humanitarian and development practitioners and experts from local and international government and non-government organisations, discussed firsthand the national and international responses to natural disasters, observed and analyzed the legacies of humanitarian and development intervention, and participated in critical evaluations of lessons learned.
In Banda Aceh, the participants learned from Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC) of Syiah Kuala University, International Centre for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies (ICAIOS), and The Center for Social Sciences Research and Cultural Studies (Pusat Penelitian Ilmu Sosial dan Budaya, PPISB) of Syiah Kuala University. They interacted directly with the experts from the three centers and other prominent scholars on the issues. These include M Nur Djuli, the former GAM negotiator, and Prof Eka Srimulyani of ICAIOS-UIN Ar Raniry who explained about Aceh, Islam and Indonesia. Dr Alvisyahrin from TDMRC and Dr Saiful Mahdi from PPISB/ICAIOS described about Tsunami responses. Suraiya Kamaruzzaman and Dr Nazamuddin of Syiah Kuala University elucidated about conflict and development, Dr Saleh Sjafei and Dr Cut Dewi, both senior researchers at PPISB, explained about Aceh’s Social Structure and Custom.
The participants also did some excursion on tsunami trail, Peace Memorial Museum, and got a chance to visit Lambunot Village as well in Great Aceh.
"The main aim of this program is to improve knowledge on the Indo-Pacific affairs in Australia which eventually increasing the number of Australian graduates with regional experience. The students might come back for their internship or thesis research. With this visit, we hope they already captured the real condition in the field," explained Dr Tadjoeddin who led the program from Australia.
ICAIOS and PPISB Unsyiah co-facilitated the visit under Dr Saiful Mahdi coordination.