The State Palace has welcomed seven new faces to the 12-member presidential expert staff. They will assist President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in making creative and innovative “breakthroughs” in his second and final term in office.
Aged 23 to 36 years old, with different backgrounds and areas of expertise, the seven millennials will advise the President on subjects including education, entrepreneurship, creative industry, disabled rights and religious tolerance.
Jokowi introduced the seven new members of his closest circle on the veranda of Merdeka Palace on Thursday. They sat on colorful bean bag chairs, evoking the atmosphere of a startup ─ the preferred office for many of the world’s millennials.
The President also posted a picture of the introduction event to his Instagram account @jokowi.
“As members of the presidential expert staff, they will be my partners in discussion every month, every week or every day,” Jokowi wrote in the caption, “With them, I can look for out-of-the-box ideas and leaping breakthroughs towards development.”
Here are the names Jokowi’s new millennial presidential expert staff members.
Angkie Yudistia (JP/Seto Wardhana)
“Hi, my name is Angkie,” she said after Jokowi’s official announcement. With her right hand, she spelled her name in sign language.
“I’m a woman with a disability, a woman with special needs who has been given the great opportunity by Bapak President to stand here and speak on behalf of 21 million of people with disability in Indonesia.”
The 32-year-old with hearing impairment is a social entrepreneur, an activist for the disabled community and an author. She is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Thisable Enterprise, an organization that supports the employment of disabled people.
One of Thisable’s projects is to partner with ride-hailing app provider Gojek to employ people with disabilities in Gojek’s services like GoAuto for automotive services and GoGlam for beauty services.
Angkie has published three books – Perempuan Tuna Rungu Menembus Batas (A Deaf Woman without Limits) in 2011, Setinggi Langit (As High As The Sky) in 2013 and Become Rich As a Socio-preneur in 2019.
“Here comes the time when [people with] disabilities are no longer seen as minority. We are equal. By becoming a member of the presidential expert staff, it’s my chance to create an inclusive environment. Wish me luck,” she said.
Adamas Belva Syah Devara (JP/Seto Wardhana)
Adamas Belva Syah Devara
The 29-year-old is the founder and CEO of education technology startup Ruangguru. He holds a Master of Public Administration and Master of Business Administration from Harvard University and Stanford University in the United States (US), respectively.
In 2017, Forbes listed Belva and Iman Usman, another Ruangguru cofounder, under its “30 under 30 Asia” for establishing the startup, which connected private tutors with students in Indonesia.
Belva said it would have been “unimaginable” under the previous administration or in other countries for “young people like us to enter the circle of the State Palace”.
“This shows a huge commitment from the president to involve the millennial generation in public policy," he said.
Belva said he and other young staff members had different areas of expertise, but he underlined the importance of maximizing technology in the delivery of public services.
“In health care, finance and taxes, for instance, perhaps we can think about new ways to apply technology so that we are not left behind other countries.”
Gracia Billy Mambrasar (JP/Seto Wardhana)
Gracia Billy Mambrasar
The 31-year-old native Papuan is the CEO and founder of Kitong Bisa, a foundation focusing on education that operates learning centers for Papuan children with the help of volunteers.
After graduating from the Bandung Institute of Technology, Billy obtained scholarships to study at the Australian National University (ANU) and Oxford University.
Sponsored by the Finance Ministry’s Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) scholarship program, Billy will soon pursue his doctorate in human development at Harvard.
In 2017, he was made an envoy of the Indonesian government to speak about education in the United Nations headquarters in New York.
“We are committed to help the President and the government not to work in ‘business-as-usual’ mode, but we will try to implement modernity and technology to realize more effective and efficient governance,” Billy said.
Billy, who worked for nine years to teach children in remote areas about entrepreneurship, said he would bring his experience to help the government reach out to the country’s outer regions through digital means.
He said that he and Jokowi were committed to “building Indonesia from Papua”.
“All along the [narrative] is to develop Papua from Indonesia, but now we will build Indonesia from Papua.”
Putri Indahsari Tanjung (JP/Seto Wardhana)
Putri Indahsari Tanjung
The youngest of the seven, 23-year-old Putri is the CEO and founder of Creativepreneur Event Creator, an organization she created when she was 15 and through which Putri educates young people about entrepreneurship.
The eldest daughter of media mogul Chairil Tanjung, Putri recently graduated from the Academy of Arts in San Fransisco, US, majoring in multimedia communication. She is also the Chief Business Officer of creative platform Kreavi.
Putri said she hoped to voice the aspirations of young people to the President. “I’ve always believed there was huge potential for creative economy in Indonesia. We need young talent, especially in this digital era.”
Andi Taufan Garuda Putra (JP/Seto Wardhana)
Andi Taufan Garuda Putra
A Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s graduate, Taufan is known for his entrepreneurship and innovation in helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The 32-year-old is the CEO and founder of Amartha, a peer-to-peer lending platform certified by the Financial Services Authority (OJK) that helped MSME players in areas across the country access funding.
Ayu Kartika Dewi (JP/Seto Wardhana)
Ayu Kartika Dewi
An activist promoting diversity and tolerance, Ayu is the co-founder of SabangMerauke, an intra-national student exchange program that aims to foster cultural diversity. The 36-year old has an MBA from Duke University in the US.
With regard to Jokowi’s target on developing quality human capital, Ayu said that it would be important for young people to develop skills in critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration, which she believed were also keys to promote peace and tolerance in the country.
“If people are able to think critically, Indonesia will be more advanced,” she said, “When we are talking about tolerance, it’s correlated to people’s critical thinking ability.”
Aminuddin Ma'ruf (JP/Seto Wardhana)
Aminuddin was chairman of the Indonesian Islamic Students Movement (PMII) for the 2014-2016 period. Born in Karawang, West Java, the 33-year-old was introduced by Jokowi as santri (Islamic boarding school student).
After graduating from Jakarta State University, he took his master degree at Trisakti University in Jakarta. Aminuddin was assigned by Jokowi to help create innovation to encourage Islamic boarding schools to develop talented students to contribute in the country's development. (vla/afr)