Languages are a central feature of human existence. They are the glue that binds our societies together, and underpin all aspects of life; from everyday interactions in our personal lives through to governance and politics at all levels, even between nations. 

The way in which languages pervade every aspect of political life is well illustrated in this issue of In Focus. From commentary on life under Pinochet’s regime by Dr Sol Rojas-Lizana being adapted for the big screen, through to the awarding of an Australian Research Council DECRA to Dr Annie Pohleman that analyses the ways in which torture became normalised under the New Order military regime in Indonesia. Additionally, the sharing of experiences by Arisa Kajiyama, a graduate of the School’s Master of Arts in Japanese Interpreting and Translation (MAJIT), who has gone to be an interpreter for the Queensland Premier, and the work of PhD Student Jane Ahlstrand in promoting Australian and Indonesian cultural relations, staff and graduates of the School of Languages and Cultures are demonstrating that knowledge of languages is critical to understanding politics and international relations around the world. 

Learning languages is much more than simply figuring out how to order something in a restaurant in a foreign country. I welcome you to enjoy reading this issue of In Focus, and share in the new insights offered in each of the featured stories.


Professor Michael Haugh

Head of School