Significance of the Australia–Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program to Overcome Public Misperception

Rizki Damayanti, Iik Arifin Mansurnoor, Jamhari


This research aims to analyze the existence of the Australia–Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program (AIMEP) as a form of Australia’s consistency as the only Western country that positions Islam and young Australian–Indonesian Muslim figures as a strategic aspect of its public diplomacy, marked by 20 years of holding the AIMEP. This study is library research using qualitative methods and historical and political approaches. Data collection techniques involved document review, interviews, and literature studies. The results of this study indicate that AIMEP is not only an instrument of public diplomacy between Australia and Indonesia, but more than that, it is an effort to bridge differences through inter-civilizational dialog – where AIMEP has contributed significantly in efforts to overcome public misperception caused by political, religious, social, cultural, and economic differences. This study can help the development of international relations scholarship in the Indo-Pacific region, Islamic studies and international relations, and public diplomacy studies. Specifically, this research strengthens the study of dialog-based public diplomacy and inter-civilizational dialog. Previous studies only discuss the AIMEP as Australian public diplomacy toward Indonesia without attempting to review a two-stage process of how the AIMEP has become a flagship program in fostering better understanding between Indonesian and Australian Muslims, and through this process, a stronger relationship between Indonesia and Australia. In addition, there are no previous studies that specifically use the theory of inter-civilizational dialog and dialog-based public diplomacy to discuss the fact that the exchange program is designed not only to provide participants with an opportunity to experience their neighboring country first-hand but also to disseminate information about their interactions and responses to their home communities. 


Keywords: Australia-Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program, public diplomacy, inter-civilizational dialog, Islam, Muslims.



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