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.

Commentary
Indonesia must seize trade war opportunity
Jakarta needs export-boosting policies to draw global manufacturers diversifying away from China. Originally published in Nikkei Asian Review. Ben Bland
Indonesia: look beyond quotas for gender representation
Indonesia: look beyond quotas for gender representation
Gender quotas are a popular means of affirmative action but the number of female parliamentarians remains meagre.
Why Jakarta called in Australia’s ambassador after Christchurch
Why Jakarta called in Australia’s ambassador after Christchurch
With an Indonesian among the dead, some local politiking has mixed with sadness following the mosque attacks.
Commentary
Deal will help tame Indonesia's risks
Originally published in Australian Financial ReviewBen Bland
Indonesia’s election debates: there’s substance in the style
Indonesia’s election debates: there’s substance in the style
The televised debates bring the campaign to a country that has only been practising democracy for 20 years.
Commentary
Jokowi must prove his doubters wrong, not appease them
Originally published in Australian Financial ReviewBen Bland
Malaysia and China: breaking up is hard to do
Malaysia and China: breaking up is hard to do
Mahathir’s promise to scrap or renegotiate “unequal” infrastructure deals with Beijing – a plan easier said than done.
Commentary
Beijing won't allow Hong Kong to sing from a different song sheet
Originally published in Nikkei Asian Review Ben Bland
Indonesian prosperity needs certainty on resource regulation
Indonesian prosperity needs certainty on resource regulation
Only regulatory certainty will ensure that Indonesia's resources are ‘used for the greatest possible prosperity of the people’.
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