Ben Bland

Director, Southeast Asia Program
Areas of expertise

Southeast Asian politics and foreign policy; South China Sea; regional economic trends; China-ASEAN relations; Indonesia; Malaysia; Vietnam; Hong Kong

Ben Bland
Biography
Publications

Ben Bland is a former Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Lowy Institute. He is the author of Man of Contradictions: Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia (Penguin Random House, 2020), the first English language political biography of Indonesia’s president, and Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow (Penguin Random House, 2017).

At the Lowy Institute, he also wrote analysis papers examining the state of Indonesian democracy and the potential for the Australia-India-Indonesia trilateral relationship, among other research projects.

Ben regularly writes opinion pieces for and provides expert comment to a wide range of international media organisations, including Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, the New York TimesNikkei Asia and Reuters.

Before joining the Lowy Institute, Ben was an award-winning foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, with postings in Jakarta, Hanoi and Hong Kong and experience reporting across China and Southeast Asia over the previous decade. He has an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Cambridge.

Ben’s position was supported by the Lowy Institute’s Engaging Asia Project, which was established with the financial support of the Australian Government.

COVIDcast Episode 4: Crisis looms in Southeast Asia
COVIDcast Episode 4: Crisis looms in Southeast Asia
The latest episode in a podcast to discuss the implications of coronavirus for Australia, the region, and the world.
COVIDcast Episode 4: Crisis looms in Southeast Asia
Podcasts
COVIDcast Episode 4: Crisis looms in Southeast Asia
COVIDcast is a Lowy Institute pop-up podcast for anyone interested in understanding the effect of coronavirus on global politics. Each week for the next few weeks, Lowy Institute…
Indonesia: Covid-19 crisis reveals cracks in Jokowi’s ad hoc politics
Indonesia: Covid-19 crisis reveals cracks in Jokowi’s ad hoc politics
The world’s fourth most-populous country has a long way to go to get a grip on this challenge, its president especially.
COVIDcast - Episode 1: The global response to the coronavirus
Podcasts
COVIDcast - Episode 1: The global response to the coronavirus
COVIDcast is a Lowy Institute pop-up podcast for anyone interested in understanding the effect of coronavirus on global politics. Each week for the next few weeks, Lowy Institute…
Jokowi’s Canberra trip: A step ahead on a long road
Jokowi’s Canberra trip: A step ahead on a long road
The Indonesian president’s visit demonstrated the two countries’ progress together, as well as gaps that remain.
Reports
Anchoring the Indo-Pacific
A report by Premesha Saha, Ben Bland, and Evan A. Laksmana published by the Observer Research Foundation. 
In conversation: Malaysia’s Foreign Minister on great power rivalry
In conversation: Malaysia’s Foreign Minister on great power rivalry
From the South China Sea to the Rohingya crisis, Saifuddin Abdullah speaks to Lowy’s Ben Bland on Asia’s big challenges.
Commentary
Beijing's tactics are driving spiral of violence in Hong Kong
If China is trying to drive wedges between the protest movement and mainstream citizens, it seems to be failing. Originally published in the Australian Financial Review. Ben…
Commentary
China’s Demands for Loyalty Are Bad for Business
Beijing has successfully muscled foreign companies in Hong Kong, but at what cost? Originally published in Bloomberg.Ben Bland
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