Board of Directors

2018 Board

Sofia Blake, Chair

SofiaSofia Blake recently returned from spending 3 years in Indonesia where she set up a mentorship program for EducationUSA, the education arm of the American Embassy in Indonesia. She also established an initiative, 6×6 Women in Action, to support the work of 6 women entrepreneurs representing different fields and diverse parts in Indonesia. For her efforts she was conferred the Secretary of State’s award for outstanding volunteerism in the East Asia region. In 2016 Sofia published a book, Journeys to the Heart, about failed ideas, successful women and change-makers in Indonesia. In 2016 she also started the Padi Internship initiative to bring US students to volunteer at companies and organizations in Indonesia. In the early 2000, Sofia worked as energy consultant in Washington DC. She earned a B.A. from Brown university and Masters in Foreign Policy from Georgetown university.

Rucina Ballinger

Rucina BallingerRucina Ballinger has lived in Bali since 1974 (on and off, mostly on) when she came to conduct research on dance and religion. She has worked in Bali as Academic Director of World Learning’s Academic Semester Abroad, as a cultural tour guide, and for the last 15 years has been in the non profit sector (Director of YKIP and Bali Project Manager for Amicorp Community Foundation). Since the Bali bombings in 2012, she and 3 other Western females of a certain age and size created Grup Gedebong Goyang, a comedy group dedicated to empowering Balinese women through song and sketches in Balinese. She posts irregularly on YouTube as a cranky granny (Dadong Biyu Batu) when things she sees around her are simply too much. She continues to learn Balinese with her Balinese family and her wide circle of friends and colleagues.

Rio Helmi 

rioBorn in 1954 to an Indonesian diplomat father and a Turkish mother, Indonesian photographer and writer Rio Helmi has been capturing images of Asia and writing since 1978. His work can be seen in magazines, documentaries and more than 20 large format photographic books. Solo exhibitions of Rio’s still photography have been held in Bali, Jakarta, Madrid, Miyazaki, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Sydney, and his works are held in private collections around the world including in London, Rome, Boston, Washington and Tokyo.  Rio has been based in Bali for more than three decades, and speaks five languages fluently.  He writes in Indonesian and English, and blogs about a wide range of topics including for the Huffington Post and the website dedicated to his hometown Ubud. He has also moderated panel sessions and conducted public interviews at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival which is now an annual event of international repute.  Rio’s latest book is a retrospective portfolio of Bali over the last 30 years called “Memories of the Sacred” launched early October 2010.  Rio is author of“Travels on Two Wheels, a Broader Perspective of Bali” a series of eclectic panoramas taken during nearly 30,000 kilometers of motorcycle trips around the island.

Dr. Douglas Kammen

DougDr. Kammen is Associate Professor in Southeast Asian Studies Programme, National University Of Singapore.   Before joining the faculty of the National University of Singapore, Professor Kammen taught in the Department of Political Science at Canterbury University (1998-2000), was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Universitas Hasanuddin in Makassar (2000-2001), and then taught at the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosae in Dili (2001-2003).   His research interests include labour and social movements, military politics, and popular political thinking.

Ni Made Ayu Marthini, MSc

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Ni Made Ayu Marthini is the director for Bilateral Trade Negotiations in the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia. She received a MSc in politics of the world economy from the London School of Economics (1999) and a BS in international relations from Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (1995). She has been a member of the Indonesian Delegation to international conferences for economic and trade-related issues since 2006, and has been highlighted as 1 of 16 Indonesian professionals with International Careers in the Book, Going Global. Her work has been honored by numerous awards including Satyalencana Karya Satya (2016) from the Indonesian Government for 20 years of service and dedication and Cata Atakara    from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy for contribution to the development of creative industries in Indonesia.

Dr. Sarah Maxim

Sarah Maxim has been the Vice Chair of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at UC BerkeSarahley since 2003. She received her Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history from Cornell University in 1992, where her research focused on colonial-era Burma and Malaysia. From 1992 until 2003, she lived in Indonesia where she worked as an administrator andconsultant for local and international non-profit organizations operating in Jakarta, including International IDEA, Pact, the World Wide Fund for Nature, and the Asia Foundation.  Professor Maxim is fluent in Indonesian and assisted in the development of the current Echols/Shadily Indonesian-English dictionary.

Gouri Mirpuri

Gouri MirpuriGouri Mirpuri is the co-founder of the award-winning The Learning Farm ( an organic farm that provides livelihood training for vulnerable youth in Indonesia. It was her experience and challenges with setting up this social enterprise that led to her to start The HUB ( in Singapore, the first co-working space for social entrepreneurs in Singapore and South East Asia.  She is especially passionate about social entrepreneurs and environmental sustainability. She has published on wide-ranging topics and had her own regular environmental column in Globe Asia. She is a TEDx and an INK speaker. Gouri has lived in various countries over the past two decades and currently resides in Washington DC.

Anak Agung Gde Rai

agungraiAnak Agung Gde Rai, known as Gung Rai, is the owner of the ARMA Museum. Listening to him, you will soon find yourself in a world of temples, dances and holy trees, and understand how in Bali a man is a part of the nature and the nature is shaped by men. He may talk about the gods, and you will be told that how they dwell in the self –one in the heart, another in the liver etc—and motion the Universe in an eternal movement of coming and going, creation and destruction. But it is when he starts glossing about visual arts that his eyes really spark. He never painted, he will tell you, but it is nevertheless through painting that he found the language and means to talk to his guests about Balinese harmony (by Jean Couteau, cultural philosopher and writer).

Mimi Sie 


Mimi Sie lives in Jakarta where she enjoys design, friends and food. She was born in Jember, East Java, and grew up in Holland. She continues to focus on family business and travel around the world for friends, spirituality and culture.



Putu Suasta 

PSuastaPutu Suasta, whose mother tongue is Balinese, was born in 1960 in Bali’s capital Denpasar. He studied International Relations at Gajah Mada University in Java, and then sociology at Cornell University where he was granted an MA.  Mr. Suasta is one of the founders of the Wishnu Foundation, a Balinese nonprofit organization that focuses on educating and mobilizing Balinese to care for and improve their natural environment.  Mr. Suasta has published several books on cultural and political issues, including contributing to “Bali Living in Two Worlds” written by thirteen Balinese writers, architects, activists and others about the rapid changes in Bali.

Dr. Mary Zurbuchen 

Mary-ZurbuchenMary Zurbuchen is an independent researcher and consultant with interests in Southeast Asian studies, Indonesian language and literature, and international education. Her current work includes translations of Indonesian fiction and drama, and she is Senior Adviser to the Henry Luce Foundation’s Asia Program.

Dr. Zurbuchen has long worked in philanthropy, serving as the Ford Foundation Representative based in Jakarta from 1992-2000, overseeing grant programs and field offices in Southeast Asia. Her work with Ford Foundation included assignments as Program Officer for Culture in Indonesia (1984-87) and India (1988-91). From 2004 through 2013 she served as Director for Asia and Russia with the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program.

Dr. Zurbuchen was Visiting Professor at the International Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, from 2000-2004, and served as Acting Director of UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies. She received a doctorate in Linguistics and a masters degree in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of The Language of Balinese Shadow Theater (Princeton 1987), and her edited works include Beginning to Remember: The Past in the Indonesian Present (Washington/Singapore 2005); Origins, Journeys and Returns: Social Justice in International Higher Education (Social Science Research Council 2009); and Leadership for Social Justice and Inclusive Higher Education (Palgrave Macmillan 2014).

Alissa J. Stern

Alissa Stern received a JD from Harvard Law School (1991) and a BA in Anthropology AlissaSternand Southeast Asian Studies from Cornell University (1986).1 Alissa received an advanced certificate in Indonesian from IKIP Malang (in Java) and helped revise the Echols/Shadily/Wolff Indonesian-English dictionary.  She has taught at the University of Indonesia Law School and has written in the Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.  Her book is entitled “The Process of Business/Environmental Collaborations” (Quorum 2000).


Former Board Members

We thank the following people for serving on prior BASAbali boards:


Photo Editor https://www.tuxpi.comProfessor John U. Wolff, Professor Emeritus, Dept of Linguistics/Asian Studies, Cornell University



Amrih WidodoAmrih Widodo, Lecturer, School of Culture, History & Language, Australian National University