Shaping public policy in Indonesia

20 October 2021
How a postgraduate degree influences Indonesia’s industry leaders
Studying a Master of International Studies helped Adinda Muchtar discover her passion for public policy.
Adinda Muchtar

Pictured: Adinda Muchtar.

Adinda Muchtar is in the enviable role of influencing a number of industries. As an Executive Director for The Indonesian Institute, Center for Public Policy Research (TII), she balances a number of responsibilities working with international donors, undertaking policy research, facilitation and workshops as well as public campaign and project evaluations. It's clear to see the postgraduate leads a busy, rewarding career.

The former international student from Indonesia has fond memories of her time with the University, even making her way to visit from Wellington, New Zealand in 2017, “because I felt like home again.”

Pursuing international passions

For Adinda, the decision to pursue the degree at the University of Sydney was simple.

I decide to choose the University due to its well-known credibility as one of the top universities in Australia.
Adinda Muchtar

Drawn to the International Studies program and the ability to complete a Master’s program in just one year, Adinda’s decision to enrol was set.

“The chance to learn new subjects was quite new and interesting for me,” she explains of her studies. It was a combination of subject areas that helped her explore exactly what it was that she wanted to pursue in her career.

“I chose this major specifically because I wanted to contextualise international relations' issues,” she says. “Not only in global sphere but also domestic sphere and analysed the intersectionality and dynamics of IR in those spheres, particularly in domestic politics and public policies,” she says.

A combination of rewarding firsts

“I felt quite nervous on my first day on campus as it was my first time studying abroad and my first experience living abroad for study,” she remembers. “Different teaching and learning methods, different culture and multicultural environment, using English as the main languages, and familiarising with the surroundings while studying in Australia were also some of the exciting challenges that I conquered during my study in Australia."

My time in the university taught me about teaching and learning methods as well, especially in critical thinking and creative teaching methods.
Adinda Muchtar

Adinda has fond memories of her time with the University, whether it be spending time in the famous quadrangle and the Jacaranda tree or simply waiting for her next class in Victoria Park nearby.

“I also enjoyed the time when I had group works with other classmates from international students,” she says of her time with the University.

Influencing public policy with an arts degree

Adinda doesn’t mince words on how much of an influence her studies with University has had on her career.

My study with the University of Sydney helped to equip me with relevant knowledge that is relevant to my career afterwards.
Adinda Muchtar

“I am so passionate about my work and I love what I am doing at TII,” she says on how her studies have helped shape the way she looks at her work. “I analyse policy processes in Indonesia, particularly in relation to participatory approach and interconnection between national and international issues when talking about globalisation.”

As an executive director, no single day is the same. Whether it be collaborating on research papers, presenting at events, leading guest lectures, public seminars and discussions, or taking part in press conferences.

“During COVID-19 pandemic, it is quite common for us as well to have collaboration through online platforms, such as Zoom, YouTube, and Instagram,” she says. “The last two years of our work have been connected to pandemic and related policy issues in tackling the situations from various aspects.”

“Our works have been cited by the media and quoted in academic publications. We have also been invited by the government in discussing policy issues, such as on regional autonomy, civil rights and liberty, elections, the parliaments, development planning, and personal data protection.”

She is also Editor-in-Chief of a libertarian portal in Indonesia, Suara Kebebasan (Voice of Freedom Indonesia), and a part-time lecturer at the Paramadina University and University of Indonesia in subjects such as non-state actor in International Relations, diplomacy in practice, and non-conventional issues in international relations, not to mention digital diplomacy. 

For future students seeking to further their studies at the University of Sydney, Adinda is generous with her advice.

“Enjoy the learning and reflective journey,” she says. “Enjoy the recreation centre, the cafes, and again the beautiful landscape of the university, the Quadrangle, the lawn, the trees, the park, and all that as the uni is situated in a beautiful and lively city of Sydney.”

Interested in pursuing an unexpected career? Discover the study options with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

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