Jeffrey Neilson is a geographer at the University of Sydney who has a deep passion for Indonesia, having lived, studied, worked and researched there over a period of 25 years. Jeff’s work focuses on two complementary research programs: environmental and natural resource management; and on improving living conditions in Indonesia’s rural communities. Before returning to the University in 2001, he worked with mining companies and communities affected by their operations in Central Kalimantan.
Jeff’s current Indonesia-related research interests include agrarian livelihoods and change, land reform, food sovereignty and the impacts of value chain sustainability programs on rural communities. He is currently involved in research projects with coffee-growing communities across Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi and Flores. Jeff’s work on the Indonesian coffee industry has also involved developing relationships between Australian specialty coffee roasters and Indonesian farmer groups
He organises an annual field school to Indonesia for university geography students, along with reciprocal visits to Australia for Indonesian geography students. He has pioneered the University of Sydney’s relationship with Universitas Indonesia, by organising 8-month immersion programs for Australian students to study both geography and Bahasa Indonesia in Depok, spreading the study of Indonesian language beyond traditional language learners. He also encourages studies of Indonesia in NSW primary schools.