A love letter, to my life Changemakers

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

It was supposed to be a good start of the week. A few days left to thesis submission, my days always began with sleepless nights. But, as soon as I received an e-mail from an old friend, my heart leaped reading the subject. It was Fran, the Global Changemakers’ team leader. I haven’t heard from Fran for awhile, thus I was very glad to have received some news from her. Little that  I knew, it was not a good news.

The e-mail was sent to inform an important update that the Global Changemakers programme has been discontinued. It was such, such a heartbreaking news for me. Global Changemakers is a platform for youth activists from all around the world, established and run by the British Council, supported by the World Economic Forum. Every year, it organises the Global Youth Summit (as well as a number of non-regular regional youth summits) to gather young people and train them to develop projects in order to make betterment of their respective communities. It also supports the projects led by its participants, through the Community Action Projects grants scheme, as well as Changemakers’ Toolkit that it has developed.

Global Changemakers’ literally changed my life. And, this post, was written and dedicated to thank them: Fran, Gaby, Matt, Katherine, John, and the rest of the team, as well as every single Global Changemaker in the world.

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A small note I left by the end of my first Global Changemakers summit.
January 24, 2009.
Today, 4.5 years later, I still feel the same. 

 

In 2009, I was an ordinary student in a public high school. Such a weirdo (and still am), did not really fit in school, could not handle bullying, could not manage my stress, and ended up looking for extracurricular activities outside school. I yearned to travel, to see the world, to get to know strangers, and basically, to make my life a better one; an extraordinary one. I then applied to participate in the 3rd Global Changemakers Youth Summit 2009 (formerly called Global Changemakers Guildford Forum 2009). And in a blink, my life changed.

In the summit, I trained myself to be a better person. I learned on how to speak well in front of the public, and basically how to manage a project. Most of all, for the first time in my life, I flew so far, without my parents (my last international trip was in 1995). For the first time, I landed my feet in London (and saw The Lion King at the West End!). For the first time, I finally made use of my English to its native speakers. I met inspiring young people, some of whom I’ve written about in my book. Including Simon Moss, an alumnus of Global Changemakers–who then became the respondent for my undergraduate thesis. Yet also, I got to know Fajar Anugerah, whom was assigned to ‘accompany’ me during the travels (flights). We became really good friends ever since, and he’s now like a surrogate brother to me (I could never ask for a better one).

Indonesian Youth Conference (IYC), an annual programme of Sinergi Muda, that is going to be held for the fourth time this year, was initially my outcome from the summit. After the event, the participants were encouraged to develop a project that will benefit our community in the Community Action Projects scheme, and my idea was to organise IYC. I proposed the idea and Global Changemakers provided a small amount of start-up grant, which I used to print proposals and stuff. They also introduced me to Veronica Colondam, the CEO of YCAB Foundation, who then agreed to become my mentor in organising IYC.

A few months later, Global Changemakers asked me to represent Indonesia in its programme with the G-20, in which we were asked to develop our own version of communique to be handed to the Head of States who were in London for the G-20. I did a crash course on Indonesian economics with my then-boyfriend’s Dad, especially its relevance towards the global financial crisis. We presented the communique to David Miliband in the House of Lords; and I personally met former PM Gordon Brown, President Felipe Calderon, and our very own President Yudhoyono. In that occasion, I became acquaintances with Dino Patti Djalal. He would have never come to my book launch hadn’t we met in the UK.

Time went by, and IYC was successfully held. It then became one of the most successful Community Action Projects and was featured in the Global Changemakers’ annual report. Because of that, I was asked to develop a Social Media Toolkit to help other changemakers to design and develop the social media strategy for their projects.

Now, well, I am who I am now. And I would never, ever be this person if it weren’t for the Global Changemakers.

So, knowing that the programme has been discontinued really, really breaks my heart. I really wished that there were more young people who could have been a part of it, and could have their lives changed as what Global Changemakers have done to me. But, I am surer than ever, that its legacy will live on, and every Changemaker in the world is going to leave a dent in the universe (as deep as the dent that Global Changemakers had left in my heart — a good dent, of course).

Thank you, Gaby, Katherine, Matt, Fran. I hope you would know that you have given a tremendous amount of contribution in people’s lives, especially in mine. You guys have helped me improved myself to be a better person, and supported me in reaching my dream to change the world (one step at a time). I’ve always tried to connect all the dots, and I’ve realised that Global Changemakers will always be a part of those connections (one of the bigger dots, even). I wish you all the best for your future endeavours, and I dearly hope that our paths will cross again sometime (just like what happened with me and Gaby when I had the chance to visit Bern!).

I love you, guys.

Thank you for being a part of my life, and helping me to make it an awesome one. x


Unleashing Indonesia

Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

6 months ago, a program of McKinsey & Company called Young Leaders for Indonesia commenced. I have been honoured to be able to join the 6-month program involved by 60 participants from a variety of universities in Indonesia and Singapore. The program is very competitive, and I was surprised that I was accepted as one of the attendees. At the first day the forum, it was unsurprising for me to witness the brilliancy of other participants. All the intelligent wit, high-achieving nature, and aspiration to unleash Indonesia — or at least that’s how McKinsey label this passion.

The program was divided into three forums. Each of the forum contents a specific theme, and even more specific modules. Forum I was called “Lead Self”; Forum II was called “Lead Teams”; and Forum III was called “Lead Indonesia”. McKinsey & Company shared many modules, including the problem solving framework used by McKinsey & Company, integrity module, etc. They also invite high profile leaders, including Tri Mumpuni, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Anies Baswedan, Sandiaga Uno, Aldi Haryopratomo, Pahala Mansury, and plenty others in each forum.

In all three forums, we got the chance to meet many leaders with similar profiles. A lot of them used to work in consulting or auditing firms, namely McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, or KPMG. Many of them used to work or are still working in banks or financial institutions like J.P. Morgan, Saratoga Capital, Goldman Sachs, or Bank Mandiri. Plenty of them left Indonesia to the U.S. to get an M.B.A. (or even PhD) degree, then come back to Indonesia to become Senior Vice President of something, Vice President of something, or CEO of something else. Some of them choose to work in the government, mostly in the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight.

It was also not a surprise for me that most of us then became unsure about what we would like to do for the rest of our lives. A participant used to want to be a lecturer so bad; but then she changed her mind and applied for McKinsey entrance test. Another participant used to want to work in a social enterprise, but then changed his mind and want to work in a private equity instead. A lot of entrepreneurs-to-be shifted directions to be consultants; and vice versa.

And then, I realized, for some moments, I sensed that what the “leaders” have said, no matter how high his or her level is in the company or institution, is usually the same with what my mother and father said, or with what my friends said about life. Even without such experience like what those ‘leaders’ possess, they still say similar things.

I felt like I have met many younger leaders who are as inspiring. The people who did not have to go overseas to say that they have achieved something in their lives. The people who just enjoy what they do. The people who have the guts to do what they love–regardless what other people say about it. Regardless of how much money they make, or how many years have they served in the position.

It was the moment that I began to understand, thoroughly, that: no, you don’t have to be a CEO of something to be recognized as a leader. You don’t have to be a management consultant to prove to other people that you are smart, a hard worker, and a high achieving person. You don’t have to work in a certain delivery unit to contribute to your nation. You just have to do the things you love; and do it well. Do good deeds to others through your passion. Build the nation through what excites you–which probably make building the nation excites you too. That way, you’ll never get tired of doing things only to impress people. Instead, you’d be happy to be able to follow your heart and intuition.

A father is a leader too. So is a friend. Other people might not realize it, but we should. For every big changes should start within the smallest circle. A family. A relationship. A friendship. A group of friends. The smallest groups that eventually form a big nation populated by 240 million something of people.

If getting to know about a variety of industry and developing strategy is your passion, work in a management consulting firm. If helping people through medical consultations is your passion, be a doctor. If sharing your knowledge, giving learning materials, and delivering lectures is your passion, get a masters degree and be a lecturer. If making people laugh brings joy to yourself, be a stand-up comedian.

Nobody has the right to look down on you just because you are doing the things that you love. Even if to them it seems less prestigious. Being able to follow our passion is a luxury. Therefore, if we have the chance too, I think we should pursue it.

We don’t have to be under the spotlight to give an impact in other people’s lives; and we don’t have to do something just because we want other to recognize our existence. Our choice might not be the best one, but make sure we make the most honest choice; for a path chosen now is the path that we’ll get to go on for the rest of our lives.

Thank you, Young Leaders for Indonesia, for the lessons learned.

How would you like to unleash Indonesia?


One Young World! :)

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Last month, I had the privilege to be one of the 17 delegates from Indonesia who could go to One Young World Summit 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. I was sponsored by EuroRSCG Indonesia.

During the event, I met heaps of inspiring young (and a bit older) people. Counsellors, speakers, and delegates were gave so much knowledge and experience in only 3 days. One of the counsellors that caught my attention was Wael Ghonim, a ‘cyber’ activist that mobilized Egyptian youth during the January 25 revolution.

Wael Ghonim mobilized Egyptian youth through Facebook, under the page name: “We are all Khaled Said”, to campaign against police brutality. He was captured by the police for 12 days, but then freed, and was chosen by Egyptian youth to represent them.

You can read his profiles on TIME and BBC.

Aside from Wael Ghonim, there were many more inspiring people attending the event, including the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway, Jamie Oliver, Muhammad Yunus, and plenty others. Our own Sherina Munaf even performed a song she wrote especially for OYW, Sing Your Mind, and received a standing ovation at the closing ceremony.

I’m so sorry for the short post — but will let you know more about it soon! ‘Til my next post! Happy Sunday


Geneva

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

Last June, I was invited by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to speak on behalf of Asian youth on the youth panel “Global Youth: Leading Change”, at the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference, Geneva, Switzerland. I shared the stage with prominent young leaders from other continents, including Monique Coleman, the first UN Youth Champion (who is also an actress! Disney Channel lovers must be familiar with her). It was such an honour for me to be able to speak at Palais des Nations. Here’s a video highlight of the session.

However, I managed to secure some time to travel around. Switzerland is a country with the highest living cost in the world, so I decided I should get out of the country to avoid losing a fortune just by traveling around Geneva. So, I booked a flight with a low-cost carrier EasyJet to visit Nice, France, for a few days. :p 

I took a picture with a miniature of Borobudur Temple made of metal (I don’t know which kind – but looks like silver) given by the late Abdurrachman Wahid to the ILO. I also put a picture of the Geneva scenery seen from ILO’s office, as well as the Jet D’eau, Geneva’s most famous landmark.

I had so much fun in Geneva! Thanks to ILO Jakarta – especially Mr. Peter van Rooij (Director of ILO Jakarta) & Mr. Tendy Gunawan – for giving me such great opportunity; also to Mrs. Clare Schenker who assisted me (a lot!) in arranging my trip. Last but not least, thank you my cousin Didiet Maulana for Ikat Indonesia‘s tenun ikat blazer I wore at the conference, and to Diana Rikasari who gave me one of her UP collections, the gorgeous Anjani Black wedges.

What city would you like to visit if you only had 6 months left in your life? :)