Personal anecdote and analysis on Indonesia.


Curriculum Vitae

Experience and Expertise

Volunteer Editor, Inside Indonesia.

2019 - Ongoing

Inside Indonesia is an online publication aiming to provide a deeper image of Indonesia than mainstream media. Here I continue apply and develop my editing skills, initially picked up at Tempo magazine. 

Panel Moderator, Basa-Basi.

April 30 2019

Moderated discussion on the 2019 Indonesian elections for AIYA Victoria (Australia Indonesia Youth Association), with Helen Brown and Professor Ariel Heryanto.

Hamer Scholarship Recipient, University of Indonesia.

August - December 2017

Awarded Hamer Scholarship by the Victorian Government for a semester of intensive language study in Jakarta, Indonesia. Completed Program BIPA (Indonesian Language Program for Foreign Learners) at the University of Indonesia, Depok Campus.

Tutor, Future Researchers of Indonesia Program (FRIP).

July 2017

Tutored undergraduate conference participants at the five day intensive learning program in Bogor, Indonesia. FRIP was funded by the Australia Indonesia Centre and run in conjunction with the Australian National University. I worked in conjunction with professors such as Greg Fealy, Ross Tapsell and Vedi Hadiz.

Honours, Monash University.

January - December 2016

Completed my Honours year in Indonesian studies from Monash University. My thesis, A Case Study of Michael Bachelard's Reporting for Fairfax Media 2012-2015, analysed Australian media reporting on Indonesia from a foreign correspondent. The focus of my research centred on, in a small way, what role Australian media coverage may affect Australia's relationship with Indonesia. 

Intern, then Contributor/Editor at Tempo Magazine.

Internship March/May 2015, Contributor/Contributing Editor May 2015 - December 2017

Initially working under Yuli Ismartono and then directly for Hermien Y Kleden at the English language edition. My internship began covering the World Economic Forum on East Asia, in Jakarta and the Asian African Summit 2015. Initially I carried out general reporting duties, developed into news transcription, editing and translating. I worked mainly on interviews with world leaders, business leaders and Indonesian politicians, developing transcripts, checking, rechecking and rewriting translations, editing finished articles before they were sent to the copy editors. I was based in Jakarta in mid-2015 and the second half of 2017, working remotely at other times as work was required.

Member/Communications Officer, AIYA Victoria (Australia Indonesia Youth Association).

Early 2014 - 2015, Communications Officer 2016.

Returning to Melbourne from an Indonesian exchange program in 2014, I wanted to continue involvement with the Australia-Indonesia relationship. AIYA's mission of connecting, informing, inspiring and building people-to-people links made it an ideal place to continue this. I participated in general activities before becoming communications officer in 2016. I focused primarily on engaging our membership and raising our organisation's profile among non-members. To do this, through experimentation, I developed a social media strategy focused on authenticity to build engagement.

Bachelor of Arts, Indonesian Studies, Monash University.


Completed my BA at Monash University in Indonesian Studies, with a broad range of units also completed in International Studies, Politics, History and Human Rights Theory. Spreading my degree over four years allowed me complete more units in Indonesian Studies, as I started at a beginners level in Indonesian language 2011.

AIYEP - Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program

December 2013 - February 2014

AIYEP is a joint program between Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Indonesian government. This experience gave me remarkable insights into Indonesia's daily life, society, religion, politics, culture and bureaucracy, as well as forging lifelong connections spanning Australia and the Indonesian archipelago. 18 young Australian university students join with 18 Indonesian students to participate in homestays, work placements and to run a joint development project in rural Indonesia. Our program was based in rural West Sumatra province, in Solok regency, several hours from Padang and later in Bukittinggi for the urban phase.

Intensive Language Course, University of Gadjah Mada (UGM)/Monash University

December 2012 - February 2013.

Participated in Monash University's summer intensive language program to UGM in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. My first experience living in Indonesia. Several members of our program became unwell, one of my colleagues contracted dengue fever and typhoid, I was fortunate enough to only get typhoid. Luckily both of us had our shots before departure. At the start of this trip we couldn't wait to get back to Australia, but by the end we never wanted to leave!

Non-Indonesia Related Experience: 



Assistant Venue Manager (AVM), JBS Hospitality and Events Group.

February 2018 - 2020 (Ongoing)

Joined JBS in 2018, after returning from Banda Aceh after my wedding. Assisted in turning the venue around, lifting turnover, increasing profit and cutting costs. In my role as AVM I support the management team and help lead our diverse team, support maintenance of the facility, control costs, manage cashflow, and analyse the market for greater opportunities.

Volunteer/Communications Officer, Country Fire Authority (Victoria).

2010 - 2016

Volunteering with the Main Ridge Rural Fire Brigade improved my resilience, taught me how to operate under pressure and devopeBegan with volunteering during my gap year, in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009.


List of Publications

Forthcoming Inside Indonesia Article.

Stephens, Edward. “The Return to Racist Politics in Australia.” Jakarta Post, March 19, 2019.


Stephens, Edward. A Case Study of Michael Bachelard's Reporting for Fairfax Media 2012-2015, Honours Thesis, Monash University, 2016.

Stephens, Edward. “Greg Barton, Indonesianist: There’s No Cultural Clash between Australia and Indonesia Over the Execution.” Tempo Magazine English, May 17, 2015.

Stephens, Edward with Sadika Hamid and Amanda Siddharta. “Babatunde Osotimehin: Build People’s Capacity to Think Creatively.” Tempo Magazine English, May 3, 2015

Stephens, Edward with Sadika Hamid and Amanda Siddharta. “William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General: Migration is Not a Problem to be Solved, it is a Reality to be Managed.” Tempo Magazine English, May 3, 2015

Stephens, Edward with Hermien Y Kleden, Sadika Hamid and Bernadette Christina Munthe. “Coca Cola Amatil: We Want to Focus on Growth.” Tempo Magazine English, April 19, 2015.

Stephens, Edward with Hermien Y Kleden, Sadika Hamid and Gusthida Budiartie. “Daniel Kaufman, President, Natural Resource Governance Institute: Good Governance Means the Rule of Law Not the Rule of Man Prevails.” Tempo Magazine English, April 5, 2015.

Stephens, Edward. “Bishop Plays Pawns as Australian Domestic Politics Trumps Campaign to Stay Executions.” Jakarta Globe, March 7-8, 2015.


About The Blog

Edward Stephens

My intention in writing this blog is to add to a more nuanced comprehension of Aceh, what is arguably Indonesia’s most misunderstood province. It is not an attempt to merely attack the failings of the Acehnese and in doing so, reify Western culture. After all, we’re the civilisation that produced President Trump.

I intend to use this space also to share my personal reflections, anecdotes and analysis on Indonesia more generally. 

My personal passion for all things Indonesia grew out of a trip to Yogyakarta in 2012. I joined a Monash University sponsored language program at UGM Yogyakarta ,while studying for my Arts degree. 

At first, I couldn't wait to get back home to Australia. But by the end of the trip, I didn't want to leave.



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