LP3ES: Five Main Activities

The Institute for Economic and Social Research, Education and Information (LP3ES) is one of the oldest think tanks in Indonesia which is almost half a century old (born 19 August 1971). Many Indonesian intellectuals as well as public figures were active here such as: former President Abdurrahman Wahid, Dawam Raharjo, Arif Budiman, Soe Hok Gie, Emil Salim, Daniel Dhakidae, Dahlan Iskan, Vedi Hadiz and many others. Now a new generation of young intellectuals is continuing the former generation.

There are five main activities that are currently carried out by LP3ES:

The first is regular discussions to respond to actual and urgent socio-political issues that are currently being discussed by the public. We, among others, held discussions about the problem of money politics ahead of the 2019 elections, monitoring the performance of government communications in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, debating the creation of the omnibus law policy during the pandemic, discussing the enforcement direct elections in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic and many other issues.

Second, in addition to impromptu discussions depending on the actual issues, we also hold more theoretical discussions with a focus on issues of democracy in general by inviting scientists from all over the world which we call a forum of 100 Social and Political Scientists. The initial idea of ​​this forum was actually an invitation to 100 socio-political scientists in Indonesia and abroad to write together to examine and reflect on the current state of democracy in Indonesia. The product will be a book that will be released on the LP3ES’ 50th birthday on August 19, 2021. But then came an idea to invite those authors not just to write but also join in a weekly seminar to disseminate their thoughts to the Indonesian public.

The third activity is the release of the annual outlook on Indonesian democracy. The outlook contains a reflection of the democratic situation in Indonesia for one year and looks at the situation of democracy in the future. The first outlook was entitled: “Saving Democracy”. It was released at the end of 2019 following the weakening of the Indonesian Commission on corruption eradication (KPK) through the revision of its law that took place in September 2019. Despite national protests from hundreds of thousands of students who took to the streets, as well as academics and other activists, this revision was forced to occur. There we wrote about the decline of Indonesian democracy and predicted that the situation would get worse in the near future. Early 2021 we released a second outlook book entitled: “The Plight of Democracy in the time of Pandemic”. There we wrote about the authoritarian practices of the Indonesian government and predicted that these practices don’t seem to end in the foreseeable future.

The fourth activity we are doing is organizing a democracy school (sekolah demokrasi). This is a forum that brings together Indonesian academics, journalists, political party elites, and religious leaders to sit together to discuss and reflect on the problems of democracy in Indonesia. This forum was successfully held twice in 2020: in February and in August. Hundreds of people who signed up were well received but only 30-40 were selected based on their excellence. The selection was also carried out by considering regional origin, diversity of professions, age and gender so that a diverse generation was born. Some of the alumni were political party elites, legislative members, journalists, prominent intellectuals, government apparatus, and religious leaders. This diversity makes LP3ES stronger and enables it to develop a very wide network throughout Indonesia, from Sumatra to Papua. This year the third school of democracy will be carried out in August.

Finally, there are various ongoing research projects currently carried out by LP3ES. One of them is research on cyber troops and the manipulation of public opinion online in Indonesia. This project was jointly initiated by LP3ES, KITLV Leiden, University of Amsterdam, Diponegoro University and Media Kernell Indonesia. This is a large, ambitious research project undertaken to understand how cyber troops work and the computational propaganda they are carrying out in five cases: Indonesian 2019 presidential election, revision of the KPK’s law, implementation of the New normal policy, creation of the Omnibus law as well as the implementation of the direct election amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please contact us to know more about our activities: wijabaru@gmail.com