Pelbagai tantangan yang dihadapi bumi pertiwi kerap disandingkan dengan tantangan kepemimpinan. Banyak yang berteori, tapi tak banyak yang bisa mengemasnya dengan baik, mempraktikannya, dan mendapatkan pengakuan internasional. Risa Bhinnekawati mungkin salah satu diantaranya. Kombinasi antara intelektualitas, pengalaman dan jejaring yang luas membuat Risa layak menjadi salah satu pemimpin Indonesia di masa depan.
Di bawah ini adalah salah satu pandangan Risa (http://bhinekawati.wordpress.com/), yang terpilih sebagai valedictorian, yang disampaikan di hadapan ribuan warga internasional di tahun 2006. Tulisan tetap relevan dengan ke-Indonesia-an. Salam hangat
RI needs strong leaders to manage transition
January 23, 2010 by Risa Bhinekawati
(My valedictory speech during the graduation ceremony at George Washington University on May 19, 2006, published on the Jakarta Post, June 6, 2006 – Photo credit: Photograds)
Graduating from George Washington University is a dream come true. I am now better equipped with the skills and knowledge I need to contribute to the success of democratic transitions in my country, Indonesia.
I thank God for allowing me to reach this far. Being a child of a civil servant in Indonesia is a challenging experience. When I grew up, my family had to cater food to the neighborhood so we could go to a good public school. I always wonder why a country with rich natural resources such as Indonesia cannot afford basic public service for its citizens.
Later, when I became the chief operating officer of the Partnership for Indonesian Governance Reform, I came to understand the root cause of the problem: lack of governance causes corruption and corruption causes acute poverty.
As you may know, Indonesia is still suffering from economic crises and political instability.
On the positive side, however, the crises have led to a new government, elected through a popular, peaceful process. Along this bumpy road toward economic and democratic governance, Indonesia needs strong leaders with a combination of integrity and capability to manage the transitions; to make the country a better place to live.
I was so passionate to join this effort, and it triggered me to apply for a master’s degree at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. I chose the Master’s in International Policy and Practice because it provides relevant courses which combine the strengths of the various schools at GWU.
I found that the journey to a degree at GWU has been intellectually, sometimes physically and emotionally, challenging, but rewarding. My peers have been inspiring, coming from different parts of America and all over the world with various professional backgrounds.
The lecturers have been helpful, treating us like friends — there has been no gap between the lecturers and the students. I have learned from my professors and my peers alike. Although I was sometimes overwhelmed with the assignments — the reading, the papers, the deadlines — I was confident that the tasks could always be accomplished because I knew there was reliable support around me.
Being in Washington DC for one year and being in such an intensive intellectual environment at GWU meant so much to me. I learned about so many different ways a country like Indonesia can transform itself.
I can compare and contrast the theories as well as practices from other countries on how they manage democratic transitions, pursue sustainable development, as well as manage the impacts of globalization.
I also learned about how the U.S. can help other countries with its soft power; with its influence in education, business, science and technology, development assistance and culture. The president of Indonesia has said that the use of American soft power charms and disarms. I have found that this is very true.
We are all very fortunate to be graduates of George Washington University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
God has given us the strength and ability to contribute to a more sustainable world in the future. May God bless us all.
Arlington, VA, April 2006