Aussie envoy sees off youth exchange program participants

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty will host a function on Friday night to farewell Australian and Indonesian participants of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program 2010-2011 and congratulate them on a successful program both in Australia and Indonesia.

"This youth exchange program has played an important role in enhancing mutual understanding between our two countries, particularly at a people-to-people level. I am confident that you have benefited from this unique opportunity to engage and work together as young ambassadors for your country," the Ambassador said.

According a media release from Australian Embassy in its official website on Friday, the Indonesian phase of the program provided the participants with the opportunity to live and work in communities in Wakatobi in the province of South Sulawesi and assist with a number of community development projects across areas such as health, education, tourism, sports and waste management.

Highlights included an Australia Day sports carnival and a village clean up event.

During these initiatives the participants forged strong links with the local community and close friendships with their youth exchange counterparts.

Australian program participant Charlotte Wheatley said, "I have been touched by the warmth and enthusiasm extended to us by the local community in Wakatobi. I believe we will all come away from this experience with lifelong friends and a greater understanding and respect for the cultures of both countries. One of the highlights for me was the chance to participate in Kabuenga, a traditional courtship ceremony of Wakatobi."

The Australian phase of the program concluded in December 2010 and involved a two-month home stay and work placement program in Brisbane and Roma, Queensland for the Indonesian participants.

The youth exchange program is an annual program promoting people-to-people links between Australians and Indonesians and is managed by the Australia-Indonesia Institute and the Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sport.