From May 11th through May 25th, 22 members of the Globalist staff and Editorial Board will be traveling to the country of Indonesia in Southeast Asia. Rich in political, cultural, and religious complexities, Indonesia is the perfect destination for a research and reporting trip. Our journey will begin in Jakarta where we will be meeting with representatives from the Jakarta Post, UNICEF, the University of Jakarta, and more. Most of these meetings have been scheduled by trip participants who are working on articles in the specific field of that contact. We will also be traveling as a group to some larger meetings that are for informational and networking purposes.
From Jakarta the group will split in two, half traveling to Bali and half to Banda Aceh. These secondary destinations are as fascinating as they are different from one another. Bali, Indonesia’s primary tourist destination and the only non-Muslim majority region of the country, is located near the geographic center of Indonesia, on the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java and Lombok. The island presents rich religious diversity, a highly-developed arts and dance scene, and an array of important social issues that often take a back seat to wondrous temples and welcoming beaches. On our trip to Bali we hope to dig beneath the surface and uncover some of the issues that matter to the Balinese people.
Banda Aceh, at the northwestern tip of Indonesia on the island of Sumatra, became world-famous for the devastation that occurred there on December 26, 2004. A massive tsunami triggered by an earthquake of magnitude 9.3 killed approximately 283,000 people, 167,000 of whom were in Aceh alone. Reconstruction efforts took years, and only recently have NGOs begun to pull out. From the 1970s until 2005 Aceh was plagued by violence. A separatist movement called the Free Aceh Movement became exceedingly popular and government efforts to quell disruptions led to quasi-war in 2003. Oddly enough it was the tsunami in 2004 that caused the two sides to come to terms in order to work together to rebuild the city and the region. On our trip to Aceh we will be researching and reporting on a number of these issues, including the post-war political status, the presence and strictness of Islam in the province, and more.