Natrisha Barnett is a recent graduate of the University of Western Australia and the founder and president of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association’s Western Australia chapter. We spoke to Natrisha about her experience at CAUSINDY last year, and her advice for prospective delegates!
Tell us a little about your own background.
I am a recent graduate of the University of Western Australia (BA&BEc) and have a strong interest in the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia. I am the founder and president of the Australia Indonesia Youth Association Western Australia and I really enjoy developing relationships within the community to advance our reach and impact.
I was selected as a participant of the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program and have undertaken internships with the Australian Embassy and Austrade Jakarta and with the Australia Indonesia Business Council in Western Australia, focusing on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
Each of these experiences have enhanced my understanding of Indonesian language, culture and its people and have given me insight into the history of Australian engagement with Indonesia. I am eager to stay involved with Australia-Indonesia affairs and to make a positive difference to the relationship.
How did you first get involved in the Australia-Indonesia relationship? Where do you see it headed?
In my first year of high school, Indonesian was a compulsory subject – I really enjoyed learning not just the language, but about the culture. I had a great group of teachers who made the lessons fun, took us to Indonesian restaurants and taught us how to make makanan Indonesia. My experiences had always been very positive and continued in-country when I first visited in 2010. I’ve been back over 15 times in the last two years and I’m writing this from Jakarta.
I see the relationship headed in a positive direction as young people increase their engagement, making their voices and ideas heard.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently organising the Australia Indonesia Fashion Exhibition (AIFEX) 2014 with my AIYA WA committee in Perth, to showcase contemporary designs from our two countries best designers, artists and performers – keep an eye out for updates on our facebook page!
How did CAUSINDY change your perspective on the Australia-Indonesia relationship?
I don’t think it changed my perspective, I think it cemented it – the young people of our two countries see each other as seamless extensions of neighbours to friends and have a mutual understanding of the way things should be. Both sides are very keen to see positive change and are willing to make an impact on the relationship. With so much energy and enthusiasm from the next generation’s leaders, we are full of confidence and optimism that the relationship will strengthen in the near future.
What advice would you share with anyone thinking of applying this year?
Articulate your experiences and ability to work with others, to communicate and to engage in discussions. Set out your vision, your ideas and your passion to make a positive difference – don’t be afraid to be bold. It’s a fantastic opportunity to have your say in the Australia-Indonesia relationship and to meet a fantastic group of like-minded young professionals.