Alumna reflections: strong legacy; bright future

From left to right: Ms Amy Lim (Senior Manager, Faculty of Arts), Professor Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Ms Joanna Donagan (Director, Global Initiatives, Global Engagement), Mr Joe De Pasquale (Senior Manager, Government and Scholarship Engagement, Global Engagement)

We were fortunate enough to host an unofficial visit from esteemed alumna, Professor Dr Dewi Fortuna Anwar, at our Clayton campus late 2016. Professor Anwar is a renowned Indonesian academic and policy maker. Currently the Deputy for Government Policy Support in the Secretariat of the Vice President, she completed her PhD at Monash in 1990 through the Departments of Politics and History. Her thesis was titled ASEAN as an aspect of Indonesian foreign policy.

The visit provided the opportunity to tour the campus and Professor Anwar was surprised at the amount of change that has taken place over the past 26 years. “It is wonderful to see all the great new student services that have been added to the campus since I studied here,” Professor Anwar said. “The new student accommodation, outdoor spaces, teaching and learning facilities and of course a supermarket will enhance the on campus experience of current and future students. When you are studying so far from home sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference,” she said.

Amy Lim, Senior Manager, Alumni and External Engagement for Arts commented on what a great honour it is to receive such a distinguished alumna on campus. She said, “Professor Anwar epitomises how a Monash degree can set up an exciting career path for our students. It is wonderful to see the connection she still has with Monash and the desire to be a part of our future success. Our alumni are bringing so much to our faculty and I feel privileged to be able to meet with Professor Anwar and have the opportunity see Monash through her eyes.”

Damien Farrell, Executive Director, External Relations, Development & Alumni, also joined the informal campus tour highlighting work currently taking place both in terms of campus infrastructure and services and to enhance alumni relations through a focus on leadership. He said,

We are always pleased to be able to welcome alumni back to our campus. The opportunity to show Professor Anwar around and hear her thoughts, memories and suggestions is invaluable. Prominent alumni such as Professor Anwar provide a valuable resource to guide our future goals and directions. We appreciate the generosity they bring in wanting to give back to the university. We have developed the Global Leaders Network to engage with such alumni and create leadership networks around the world which strengthens our university and provides opportunity and aspiration for future generations.

Joanna Donagan, Director Global Initiatives, Global Engagement echoed this sentiment.  “Professor Anwar has provided advice and guidance to our engagement in Indonesia and we appreciate her ongoing and indispensable support. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her and a genuine desire to engage and add value. This has been an asset to the Monash Indonesia Representative Office (MIRO) located in Jakarta.  It was great to hear her reminisce about her time here at Clayton and share coffee in the Taste Baguette cafe, which coincidently used to be part of the Herb Feith seminar rooms on campus,” Joanna said. The late Professor Herbert Feith, a distinguished Monash scholar, taught at Monash from 1962 until retiring in 1990. Professor Feith co-supervised Professor Anwar’s PhD thesis at Monash and is fondly remembered by her as a wonderful and inspiring teacher.

Remembering her experience as a student enabled Professor Anwar to reflect on the opportunities for higher education and Monash into the future. “The capital works program Monash is currently implementing on the Clayton campus are impressive. But what excites me is the possibilities these new spaces will bring for the creation of new knowledge; for collaboration to solve the grand challenges we all face. I see real potential and am delighted with Monash’s renewed focus on Indonesia,” Professor Anwar said.