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Jakarta Post

18 emerging Indonesian leaders invited to attend Obama Foundation Leaders forum

  • Vela Andapita
    Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, November 24, 2019   /   11:50 am
18 emerging Indonesian leaders invited to attend Obama Foundation Leaders forum Former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle walk off the stage at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago, Illinois, United States, Oct. 31, 2017. (Agence France -Presse/Jim Young)

Eighteen young leaders from Indonesia have been selected to join hundreds of their peers at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia Pacific forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, slated to run for five days in December.

The cross-sector global forum has invited around 200 emerging leaders from 33 countries from various backgrounds – be it public, private or non-profit – to represent work on a variety of issues such as education, environment, communication and entrepreneurship.

One of the young leaders from Indonesia, Dissa Ahdanisa, is the founder of Fingertalk, a social enterprise that works with the deaf community and people with other disabilities.

She said she looked forward to working with other young leaders to spread awareness about people with disabilities and the challenges they faced, particularly in Indonesia.

“I would also like to meet likeminded people from different parts of the world, learn about what they do, why and how they do it, to hopefully collaborate to create a much bigger impact in the future,” she said in a release made available to The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Echoing Dissa, the executive editor of not-for-profit media The Conversation Indonesia and former journalist at The Post, Prodita Sabarini, said she was honored to be selected and to be a part of a diverse and amazing cohort.

“Growing up, the leaders I saw were male, along with their authoritarian and dominating styles. We need more diversity in leadership positions,” she said.

Bawah Anambas Foundation head Jerry Winata said most countries in the Asia-Pacific region were still considered developing and growing middle-income nations that stood in between prioritizing economic growth versus having stronger environmental protection efforts.

He had spent many years in development works, lifting people out of poverty with the World Bank and improving nutrition for impoverished children and pregnant women with the United Nation’s World Food Program.

“I am humbled to be part of the first class of Obama Foundation Leaders,” he said.

“I am extremely excited to connect with 199 other emerging leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region to illuminate a clearer path for sustainable growth,” he added.

The 18 Indonesian leaders and others will convene in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Dec. 10 to 14.

The event aims to equip the participants with workshops to improve their skills and provide opportunities for them to expand their global networking.

It will be followed by a one-year leadership program, throughout which the participants are expected to apply the skills and knowledge they learn during the forum in their respective fields.

In addition to former United States president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, other prominent figures are also scheduled to give speeches and bring up discussions about, among other topics, progress and opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region.

The figures include Malaysian Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister YB Hannah Yeoh, Malaysian entrepreneur and Air Asia cofounder Tony Fernandes as well as Indonesian entrepreneur and JAVARA founder Helianti Hilman.

The following are the Indonesians invited to the Asia Pacific Obama Foundation Leaders event:

1. Adhitya Ramadan, journalist at Kompas.

2. Adi Pradana, sustainable land use manager at WRI Indonesia

3. Adi Nugroho, manager at Usahadesa

4. Amalia Falah Alam, Indonesia country representative for the Fair Wear Foundation and CNV International

5. Angga D. Martha, social policy specialist at UNICEF and cofounder of Ngobrolin Indonesia

6. Axton Salim, cochair of Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network Global Advisory Group and coordinator at SUN Business Network Indonesia

7. Dissa Ahdanisa, founder and chief executive officer of Fingertalk

8. Dini Indrawati Septiani, Indonesia country representative for AVPN

9. Gigih Rezki Septianto, cofounder and chief executive officer of

10. Jasmine Puteri, senior forest political and market campaigner for Greenpeace

11. Jerry Winata, head of the Bawah Anambas Foundation

12. Julisa Tambunan, cofounder and chief executive officer of GirlSPARKS

13. Nalindra Annalia Pelekai, consultant for Youth Development Programs

14. Prodita Sabarini, executive editor of The Conversation Indonesia and former journalist at The Jakarta Post

15. I Putu Wiraguna, cofounder and director of Five Pillar Experiences and Sun Sang Eco Village

16. Rachel Arinii Judhistari, East Asia and ASEAN program manager for FORUM-ASIA

17. Randi Swandaru, head of zakat utilization at The National Zakat Board of Indonesia (BAZNAS)

18. Swietenia Puspa Lestari, executive director of Divers Clean Action


Editor's note: This article has been updated with the full list of names selected to join the upcoming Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia Pacific forum.