PhD, Anthropology, The Australian National University
Associate Professor Minako Sakai is a multiple award-winning scholar and is Deputy Head of School (Research). In October 2023 she received an Culture Award (Anugerah Kebudayaan Indonesia) from the Indonesian government, and also the UNSW's VC's Award for Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision. She explores how to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Indo-Pacific region with a focus on Indonesia as below:
Associate Professor Sakai is a receipient of UNSW's 2023 Award for Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision, and supervises HDR students. She holds a PhD in anthropology from the Australian National University. he held research fellowships with the the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences, ANU College of Asia and Pacific, Cornell University and the National University of Singapore. In 2023 shee held a Research fellowship at State Islamic University, Jakarta. She is frequently invited for international conferences for keynote and plenary addresses.
My earlier research explored the impact of Islamisation upon ethnic identity among Malay-language speaking Gumay people of South Sumatra in Indonesia. My ethnography titled Kacang Tak Lupa Kulitnya: Identitas Gumay, Islam, dan Merantau di Sumatra Selatan (The Nut Cannot Forget Its Shell) was published by an Indonesian major publisher, Obor to return knowledge to Indonesia since I have published on these issues in English.
My interest expanded to examine the impact of Islamisation among middle-class Muslims in Indonesia with a focus on Islamic microfinance, entrepreneurship and community empowerment. My second book, Penggiat Bisnis Syariah di Indonesia: Muslimah, Kewirausahaan dan Pemperdaayan Masyarakat (Indonesian Syariah Business Activists: Muslim Women, Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment), was published by Dompet Dhuafa, Jakarta.
My third-book titled Women Entrepreneurs and Business Empowerment in Muslim Countries, co-authored with Prof Amelia Fauzia is forthcoming from Palgrave Springer in 2022. This book analysed how emergent interpretations of Islam in Indonesia have facilitated women to play a main role in the economy, which ultimately impacts upon gender relations in a comparative perspective.
In addition to these monographs I have published over 50 articles and book chapters on the theme of religion, community and local development issues.
My recent conference presentations as below reflect my research activities.
2023 Does Religion Still Matter? International Conferences on Interreligious Studies Sciences and Technology, LP2M, State Islamic University, Jakarta (6-8 November)
2023 Building Back Better: Disaster Recoveries and Embeddedness in Indonesia and Japan. Disaster Management Conference, Graduate School, Andalas University, Padang (3 November)
2023 Development and Women Entrepreneurship, The 2nd International Conference on Gender, Culture and Society (ICGCS) 2023, Andalas University (24-25 October)
2023 National Seminar on Islamic Finance and Syariah Financial Institutions, FEB (Faculty of Economics and Business, State Islamic University, Jakarta (8 September)
2023 Public lecture. FEB (Faculty of Economics and Business), Universitas Andalas, Padang, Indonesia.
2022 Leaders’ Insight Series 3 Recent Issues in Women’s Economic Empowerment, Dompet Dhuafa, Jakarta (5 September)
2022 International Public Discussion: Overview of Women’s Economic Empowerment, Faculty of Economics and Business, UIN Raden Mas Said Surakarta (31 August)
2022 Invited as keynote speaker for the 7th International Conference on Social and Political Sciences (ICOSAPS) 2022 with a main theme of ‘Transformation in Times of Crisis’ Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Sebelas Maret University, Indonesia (5 August).
2022 Invited as keynote speaker for the International Seminar with a theme of ‘Integarated Models of Science and Religion in Contemporary Muslim World’ State Islamic University, Jember, Indonesia (18 May).
2022 Webiner Strategic Talk Series 3: Women’s Economic Empowerment in Muslim Countries: An Indonesian Case. 26 April hosted by the Indonesian Embassy, Canberra
2021 Invited plenary webinar speaker for Optimalising Islamic Social Entrepreneurship for the Islamic Social Finance and Commercial Sector, held in partnership with UIN Jakarta and Ikatan Alih Ekonomi Islam (IAEI), 8 November 2021.
2021 Invited speaker, Muslim Women’s Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship” Challenges Arising from the Pandemic, International Conference: Pandemic of Humanity, Memory, Creativity and Solidarity, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Islamic State University, Jakarta 13 August 2021.
2021 UNSW Women’s Wellbeing Academy Small Grant Recipient Presentations (11 March)
2020 Invited keynote speaker for the International Seminar on Baitul Maal wat Tamwil (BMTs) Roles and its Opportunities for Improving the Welfare of Micro-Businesses, held in conjunction with the Annual Convention of the Association of Islamic Savings and Credit Cooperatives (BMTs), Indonesia 19 November.
2020 Invited keynote speaker for Universitas Sebelas Maret. Surakarta, Indonesia, FISIP International Seminar about “Covid 19 and Gender Issues: Experiences from Different Countries” on 11 November 2020 from 09.00 to 12.00 WIB.
2020 Invited keynote speaker for Islamisation of the Highlands of South Sumatra: Gumay Community, the 2nd International Seminar on Adab and Humanities (ISAH), Faculty of Adab and Humaniora, The State Islamic University, Palembang, 12 November.
2020 Invited Plenary Speaker for Community Development: Entrepreneurship and Self-Study Practices. The 8th International Conference on Educational Research and Innovation. OCERI 2020. Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Indonesia 4-5 November (Online conference)
2020 Invited Plenary Speaker for a panel titled ‘Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing’ ASEAN Conference, UNSW Sydney, 10 October (online conference).
2020 Invited keynote speaker for Theory and Praxis Anthropology. Social and Religious Research Development, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Ilmu Budaya, Gadjah Mada University, 7 September (online). https://youtu.be/hg9L7KAjNSo
2020 Invited keynote speaker for Gender Perspective in Disaster Resilience of Covid 19, Gender and Development, Faculty of Creative Design and Digital Business, Department of Development Studies, Institut Teknologi Sepeluh Nopember. 3 June (online).
2019 Invited keynote speaker for Religion, Development and Women Empowerment Workshop, Graduate School, The State Islamic University, Yogyakarta. 5 September.
2018 The The 3rd International Conference on University-Community Engagement (ICON-UCE) 2018, Organised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, Hosted by the State Islamic University Malang (Oct)
2018 Public Lecture, ‘Women, Community Development and Entrepreneurship in Indonesia’, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences University of Sebelas Maret, Indonesia, Solo (Oct).
2018 International Conference on Reflection on Islamic Studies, ‘Development and Empowerment in Indonesia: Opportunities, Recent Development and Challenges’, State Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN) Solo (Oct)
2018 ‘Fostering Community Resilience by Connectivity between Victims and Supporters in Post-disaster areas in the Asia-Pacific Region’, Plenary Panel Presentation, APRU 14th Multi-Hazards Symposium in Collaboration with the Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU (Oct)
2018 International Conference on Culture and Language in Southeast Asia (ICCLAS) of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) Jakarta: Contemporary Intercultural Relation Between Islam in Southeast Asia and the Middle East Countries. State Islamic University, Jakarta (August)
2017 Invited Plenary address. ‘Utilization of Social, Cultural, and Art Assets to Improve the Quality of Life’. The 5th International Conference on Educational Research and Innovation (ICERI) 2017 in Yogyakarta, Optimizing Educational Research Findings to Improve the Quality of Life. Organised by the Ministry of Research and Technology and Higher Education, and Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta
2017 Plenary keynote address, ‘Community Empowerment, Institutional Transformation and Sustainable Economy’. International Conference on Religion, Microfinance and Community Empowerment (ICOFIN) 2017, Department of Islamic Banking and Economics, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, and University Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, July.
November 2018, Urban Resilience in Asia Pacific (URAP), panel co-convenor, UNSW on Climate Security and Community Resilience: Debating Institutional Innovation from the Grassroots
Oct 2018, One-day Forum Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Asia Pacific at Institute of Global Development UNSW.
July 2018, ASAA, Sydney University. Panel Convenor and Presentation: Social Innovation and Digital Financial Inclusion for Community Empowerment in Indonesia including two of my HDR students. My paper was titled ‘Muslim mompreneurs in Indonesia’.
I am currently hosting the following Visiting Fellows whose work are concerned with development issues with a focus on the Asia Pacific region:
Dr Amelia Fauzia (State Islamic University, Jakarta)
Dr Rafisah Mat Radzi (Universiti Sains Malaysia)
A.Prof. Stephen Sherlock (Australia)
I have built strong ties with Indonesia through my research and teaching. My research collaborative partnerships include partners from the State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, The University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University and the Airlangga University. I have been contributing the directions of Islamic studies by offering anthropological perspectives of Islamic studies. As such I am serving on the editorial board for the Asia Pacific Anthropology and Studia Islamika.
Recent Media Coverage
I serve as an expert on the following international journals in the field of Islamic Studies, Social Sciences and Islamic Finance.
Advisory Role for Civil Society Organisations
My Research Supervision
Current HDR Students under my supervision are part of the Asia Pacific Development and Security Research Group.
PhD in Southeast Asian Social Inquiry (code 1203)
My teaching philosophy is to transfer passion for knowledge. I value students' active learning and engagement in class and is among an approved peer teaching reviewer at UNSW Canberra.
I learn greatly from students' questions and I enjoy classroom interactions.
Since 2015 I have been running an annual students' conference which involve all the undergraduate students in Indonesian Studies at UNSW Canberra in partnership with the Indonesian Embassy, Canberra, and the Deference School of Foreign Languages (Melbourne).
Along with this conference she also has been coordinating the annual Indonesian speech contest convened by the Indonesian Embassy, Canberra.