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UCLA Receives Gift for Indonesian Studies
Photo: Michael Ross, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, donors Susan Morse Lemelson and Dr. Robert Lemelson, and Interim Vice-Provost J. Nicholas Entrikin of the International Institute, at the Reception launching the Indonesian Studies Program.

UCLA Receives Gift for Indonesian Studies

The $75,000 gift from Dr. Robert Lemelson, an anthropologist who also earned his doctorate at UCLA, will support graduate students, visiting scholars, and conferences.

By Barbara Gaerlan

UCLA has received a generous gift of $75,000 from Dr. Robert Lemelson to establish an Indonesian Studies Program within the university’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS). Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country and home to the largest Muslim population.

“UCLA is thrilled to be the home of the first new Indonesian studies initiative in the United States in several decades,” said CSEAS Director Michael L. Ross, an associate professor of political science. “Dr. Lemelson’s generous gift will help us promote a better understanding of this remarkable country, which is playing an increasingly critical role in world affairs.”

At UCLA, the gift money will be used for several purposes:

  • to provide fellowships to UCLA graduate students to conduct fieldwork and archival research in Indonesia as well as other Indonesia-related study. These students will be known as Lemelson Fellows;
  • to sponsor conferences and workshops on Indonesian studies at UCLA; and
  • to bring to the UCLA campus Indonesia experts (from Indonesia and elsewhere) to conduct research and to enhance the regular curriculum by giving lectures and meeting with students and faculty.

UCLA is currently the only university in Southern California to offer Indonesian language instruction at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. CSEAS thanks the UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and the UCLA International Institute for their support of this instruction.

The UCLA faculty team for the Indonesian Studies Program consists of Geoffrey Robinson, Associate Professor of History, who will serve as Chair of the Steering Committee; Douglas Hollan, Professor of Anthropology; and Michael L. Ross, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

Robert Lemelson, Ph.D., is an anthropologist who received his M.A. from the University of Chicago, and his doctorate from the UCLA Department of Anthropology. He is currently a research anthropologist at the Semel Institute of Neurosciences at UCLA and lecturer in the Departments of Anthropology and Psychology.  His areas of specialty are Southeast Asian studies, psychological anthropology, ethnographic film, and transcultural psychiatry. He was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia in 1996-1997 and has worked extensively for the past 15 years exploring the relationship between culture and health in Bali and Java. He is also the president and founder of The Foundation for Psychocultural Research, a non-profit research foundation supporting research and training in the neurosciences and social sciences, and director of Elemental Productions, an ethnographic documentary film production company.

About the Center

The UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) was established in 1999 with a mission to take a leading role in defining the place of Southeast Asian studies in the United States for the 21st century. In 2000, CSEAS joined with the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at UC Berkeley to form a consortium. The same year the UCLA-UCB consortium was designated a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center for Southeast Asian Studies, one of only a small number in the country. UCLA's CSEAS promotes independent research and innovative teaching about the histories, languages, societies, and cultures of Southeast Asia and its peoples.

Center for Southeast Asian Studies