Putu Oka Sukanta inaugural Herb Feith Foundation Human Rights Education Award recipient


Putu Oka Sukanta named inaugural Herb Feith Foundation Human Rights Education Award recipient

To mark International Human Rights Day on 10 December, the Herb Feith Foundation is delighted to announce the awarding of the inaugural Herb Feith Foundation Human Rights Education Award to acclaimed Indonesian writer and activist, Putu Oka Sukanta.

The award seeks to recognise individuals of Indonesian or East Timorese background who have made a significant contribution to human rights education in Indonesia and/ or Timor Leste. The award reflects Herb Feith’s commitment as a scholar and activist to human rights and peace activism and education in Indonesia and Timor Leste.

The award will be presented to Pak Putu Oka Sukanta in Jakarta on Thursday 1st December, 4-6pm, KEKINI Co-working space, Jalan Cikini Raya 45, Jakarta hosted by AJAR (Asia Justice and Rights).

Putu Oka Sukanta was chosen for this award in recognition of his many contributions to human rights education in Indonesia through his writing (fiction and non-fiction) editing, film production and community education activities. Putu Oka Sukanta was born in Singaraja, July 29th 1939. He began writing literature when he was 16 years old. Putu obtained his Bachelor’s degree in education and became a high school teacher. In the early 1960s also worked as a freelance journalist and radio announcer for RRI in Singaraja and Jakarta. He was an activist of the leftist cultural organisation, the People’s Cultural Institute or Lekra until the organisation was banned following the 1965 coup attempt. Arrested in 1966, he spent 10 years in prison without trial. Putu is active in literary and cultural organisations and is a prominent human rights campaigner. He lives in Jakarta where he works as an acupuncture specialist. He has been invited to present his works and ideas all over the world. His books, including novels, short stories, and poems have been translated to English, German, and French. Putu is the founder of the NGO, Lembaga Kreatifitas Kemanusiaan, which publishes books, produces films and organises educational activities focused on restoring humanity related to the 1965 case. In 2012 he received the Hellman/Hammet Award for his commitment to freedom of expression and for his dedication to confronting persecution.

The Herb Feith Foundation was established in 2003 to commemorate the life and work of Herb Feith (1930-2001), volunteer, scholar, teacher and peace activist. Set up by the Council of Monash University, the mission of the Foundation is to promote and support work of the kind to which Herb Feith devoted his life.

Read Pat Walsh’s recent article in Inside Indonesia on Putu and the award ceremony in Jakarta.

For more information contact Herb Feith Foundation Board member Djin Siauw (djinsiauw@ozemail.com.au) or (+61) 402 338 877 and Jemma Purdey (jemma.purdey@monash.edu) or (+61) 409 257 154.