The Australia-Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program (AIMEP) is now open for applications! One of Australia’s longest-running programs for emerging Muslim community leaders, the AIMEP will run online this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Applications opened on Saturday 6 March and close on Saturday 10 April 2021.

The AIMEP aims to build bridges of friendship and understanding between Australians and Indonesians through emerging (23-40 years old) leaders of the Muslim communities in both countries.

Australian Ambassador HE Gary Quinlan AO, and his counterpart, Indonesian Ambassador HE Kristiarto Legowo, jointly launched the AIMEP in a special online event streamed via Zoom and Facebook.

“The Muslim Exchange Program is so important. Over the last two decades, more than 260 people have gone through the program and formed a very powerful alumnus network, which continues to make a very strong contribution to both our countries, and the relationship, the understanding, and the knowledge [that exists] between the two of us,” Ambassador Quinlan said.

AIMEP participants meet students at an Islamic boarding school in Indonesia

Ambassador Legowo added: “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Australia Indonesia Institute for nurturing this excellent agenda for almost 20 years. I always say that AIMEP is one of the best programs that we have conducted in strengthening further people to people linkages between Indonesia and Australia. I am also proud that in the midst of this pandemic we are all able to remain active, creative, and innovative, as reflected in the first time the AIMEP has been held virtually this year.”

The AIMEP counts among its Australian alumni prominent Muslim community members such as cross-cultural consultant Tasneem Chopra AM and television personality Nazeem Hussain, as well as sportswoman Assmaah Helal, police officer Maha Sukkar, Islamic Council of Victoria manager Ayman Islam, AMUST Managing Editor, Mobinah Ahmad and others.

This year, AIMEP program organisers will partner with Gould Studio to deliver the AIMEP as a fully interactive, virtual experience.

“Our team is thrilled to support this exciting next chapter for the highly successful AIMEP program. We’ve designed an engaging, interactive virtual experience that will enable participants to foster meaningful connections without the need to travel in person,” Chief Design Officer Peter Gould said.

AIMEP participants visit the Islamic Council of Victoria in Melbourne

Nada Kalam, founder of the Muslim Professionals Association, who participated in the program in 2016, said, “The AIMEP experience was incredible—everything about the whole trip was inspiring, enlightening, and I got to meet a really great group of people both from Australia and Indonesia. Those connections that I formed are things that I will carry on with me forever.”

Successful applicants will engage in an interactive program of dialogue and exchange over 7 weeks in July-August 2021. 24 participants, including 16 Indonesian and 8 Australian Muslim leaders, will be selected in April this year by a panel of experts and alumni from both countries.

AIMEP participants at Indonesian parliament

Application criteria and further information about the AIMEP program is available at: www.aimep.com.au. Interested applicants are encouraged to begin preparing necessary documents ahead of the Saturday 10 April 2021 deadline.