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.

Indonesia: don’t over-react to Jakarta violence
Indonesia: don’t over-react to Jakarta violence
The taint of riots shouldn’t undermine what was a free, fair and peaceful election.
Commentary
Hong Kong is Set for a U.S.-China Showdown
A controversial extradition bill has exposed the region’s autonomy as a fiction. Originally published in Foreign Policy. Ben Bland
Commentary
Jokowi - business as usual will not be enough
Originally published in Nikkei Asian Review Roland Rajah , Ben Bland
Commentary
Indonesian strongman lost, but identity politics won
Originally published in the Australian Financial Review.Ben Bland
Commentary
The World’s Most Complicated Single-Day Election Is a Feat of Democracy
Indonesia’s ability to hold free and fair polls illustrates many of the oft-hidden processes that, beyond the simple act of casting ballots, underpin democratic societies. …
Commentary
Four men, three Indonesian contradictions
The choice of running mate by both candidates illustrates their efforts to overcome Indonesia's size, diversity and difficulty to govern. Originally published in the …
Politics in Indonesia: Resilient elections, defective democracy
Analyses
Politics in Indonesia: Resilient elections, defective democracy
The pressures on Indonesian democracy are not likely to abate under a second-term Jokowi or a Prabowo presidency
The mind-boggling challenge of Indonesia’s election logistics
The mind-boggling challenge of Indonesia’s election logistics
800,000 polling stations, six million election workers, and the most complicated single-day ballot in global history.
Interactives
Indonesia's Incredible Elections
On 17 April, Indonesia is holding one of the most complicated elections the world has ever seen. While India, the world’s most populous democracy, takes six weeks to complete its…
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