Transforming Data into Stories

It was fun to share my views and experiences on how to convert data into stories with colleagues at the Local Government Office of Bantul Regency. During the online workshop, I shared how to build good and engaging stories in a governmental report using various kinds of data available.

This is an important skill for government employees since they have to generate moving stories out of data and information they have, instead of formal, dry and boring information in an old-fashioned report book. I shared a number of tips on how to use data to build easy-to-follow and or touching stories. The event was fun.


Reimagining Indonesia-China Relationship

I visited China for ten days from 18 to 27 April 2024. The journey covered three cities, two hi-tech companies, a number of government institutions, six academic institutions, various museums, and surely a lot of delicious food. For me, it was the longest working visit to a single country in the last decade or so. I have witnessed a lot and I have learnt a lot.

The visit was made possible due to a program organised by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Jakarta. We, seven Indonesian scholars from different disciplines, took part in the program and each of us is left with deep impression. The journey has helped us understand China better by witnessing closely different events, places, traditions, and listening to different views from Chinese Scholars, government officials and ordinary people. Here is my short note.

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Leadership Training at the State Islamic University of Sunan Kalijaga

I was invited by a student organisation at the State Islamic University (UIN) of Sunan Kalijaga in Jogja. It was about leadership and was certainly not my first talk about the topic. I have spoken about leadership before at several events for student and other young people. However, at this UIN event I felt there needed to be a distinctive, more Islamic touch. As a Hindu Believer, I certainly have to study this matter seriously. In the car, while waiting for the event to start, I thought hard about making a plan.

I remember a figure, Umar bin Khattab, who is said to be a respected figure in Islamic history. I contacted a friend for discussion. In about 15 minutes, I should be able to add leadership material that is unique to Islam. This is also important for me to ensure because I have included Hindu leadership teachings, Asta Brata, in my material. Of course there is no problem, but it would be sweeter if at the event at UIN I also presented the teachings of Islamic leadership with the same level of seriousness.

I was the only speaker at an event at UIN. The most challenging thing was because it was right before breaking the fast (Iftar). I was filled with doubt that the 100 or so participants would not be able to concentrate or choose to rest their intellectual engines. Turns out I was wrong. Their eyes sparkled, their smiles looked fresh and their nodding heads radiated energy.

I really enjoyed the interaction. I did try by best, I believe.

Expert Discussion with Bappenas on Mapping Health Facility Access

The Directorate of Public Health and Nutrition, Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas) of the Republic of Indonesia invited me to share my views regarding their new project. They are mapping access to health service facilities between regions, especially in island areas (kepulauan). During the process, they need experts’ views  regarding the results of the mapping.

I was invited to give my views on the matter. The meeting was conducted online through zoom involving different parties. Assisted by Akram, a young alumni of our department, I delivered some notes and points to improve the mapping process. In general, they have done good job in improving access to health facilities using geospatial sciences and technology.

Discussion on the Standard of the Boundary Official Map of Indonesia

A delegate from the Indonesian Geospatial Information Agency visited the Department of Geodetic Engineering on 19 March 2024 to discuss the Standard (SNI) of the Boundary Official Map of Indonesia. I was in particular asked to be a discussion partner for the map being discussed is regarding maritime boundaries. The agency is preparing a new map to be published and they want to make sure they are implementing the latest standard.

I gave some insights on maritime boundary issues for the delegate to understand better. I covered, especially, the history and development of the issue and how Indonesia came up with the current map. I also pointed out some potentially problematic segments that might need close attention when producing the new map. We might see a different map compared to the one we had in 2017 (the latest and current version).

The discussion went well and everybody seemed to manage to learn one thing or two.  Such meeting is important to ensure collaboration between Industry/Government and the academic world. We look forward to working together more.

Participating at the Australia-ASEAN Maritime Summit in Melbourne

It was a great privilege for me to be invited to the Australia-ASEAN Maritime Summit. From 4-6 March 2024, the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, hosted leaders from Southeast Asia for the 2024 Special Summit to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations. The Special Summit marked an historic elevation in Australia’s ties with ASEAN, recognised in the Melbourne Declaration – A Partnership for the Future.

a picture with ANCORS alumni participating at the event – ANCORS is my alma mater for PhD

Alongside the Leaders’ engagement, the Special Summit’s success owed much to thematic tracks on Business, Emerging Leaders, Climate and Clean Energy, and Maritime Cooperation. I am happy to be the part of the  the Maritime Cooperation Forum. I was there as an academia, learning about how to foster deeper cooperation between ASEAN and Australia. The Special Summit also helped me build long-lasting connections with scholars from different countries.

The Special Summit program and outcomes not only represented what ASEAN and Australia have jointly achieved over the past fifty years – since Australia became ASEAN’s first Dialogue Partner – but also everything we aim to achieve in the next fifty. For more information, we can visit the Special Summit website at

Teaching Maritime Boundary Issues at NUS, Singapore

The National University of Singapore (NUS), in collaboration with the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) regularly conduct training on maritime boundaries. This year, the training was held on 27-29 February 2024 and I was honored to be of the trainers.

participants and trainers

The Workshop had a record number of 56 participants from diverse professional backgrounds, including diplomats, hydrographers, lawyers and academics. The 2024 Workshop welcomed, for the first time, 9 participants from 5 Pacific Islands Countries: Fiji, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. ASEAN member states continued their active engagement with this workshop series, with 31 participants in this year’s workshop from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. In addition the program also welcome participants from the Bahamas, Chile, Egypt, Maldives, Oman joining us this year. The Workshop had participants from 22 countries.

me teaching a small group on technical aspects of maritime boundary delimitation

I shared a session with Clive Schofield, my former supervisor, on the technical aspects of maritime boundary delimitation. It was fun. I had to opportunity to share some of my old and new animations to visually explain complex issues of maritime boundary delimitation. I also helped participants during negotiation exercises.  I was so glad to participate and for meeting some good friends.

Joint Public Lecture: UGM x Nagoya University

The Master Program of Geomatics Engineering of UGM collaborated with the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Jepang in conducting a short workshop. Seven students and two professors from Nagoya University came to Jogja for a ten-day program, one of which was a joint public lecture.

I was asked to deliver a lecture for the program where around 20 students from Japan and Indonesia attended. My lecture was on Border in a Borderless World, talking particularly about issues on international maritime boundaries. Being a public lecture, the program was open for public and students from different faculties/schools came to attend. It was a good challenge for to deliver the lecture in a language that is accessible to those with different background. I personally enjoyed it.

The lecture went well with some good questions from the audience. Prof. Ito from Nagoya University also participated actively by discussing some part of my lecture. For me personally, the lecture was a good test, how effective I could be in delivering lecture for audiences with various background. In general, I was happy!

Introducing Indonesia, Bali, and Hindu to Japanese Students

It felt so great to be back at the Office of International Affairs (OIA). It has been almost a year after I left the office, transitioning my position from the head of the office to the head of Master Program of Geomatics Engineering. Now that OIA invited me to speak to students from Ritsumeikan University, Japan, I somehow felt nostalgic. Academic Internationalization has been in my blood, I guess.

The topic was unusual. I was tasked to talk about Indonesia, Bali, and Hindu. The students need to understand Indonesia and its diverse culture better so I had to honor to speak to them. It was a one-hour session but it seemed to me that we used it effectively. Students’ enthusiasm helped me gain great energy in delivering my lecture.  They also had some critical questions so that we had good conversation after the presentation.

Discussion on the Draft of the Government Regulation on Internal Waters

A delegation consisting of people from the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment , Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, and Geospatial Information Agency visite the Department of Geodetic Engineering on 12 February 2024. The purpose of their visit was to discuss the Draft of the Government Regulation on Internal Waters. I was specifically asked to be only resource person at the discussion.

There has been an initiative to establish a Government Regulation regarding International Waters in Indonesia. The draft is currently being discussed by all stakeholders in order to improve its quality. During their visit to UGM, we had specific and engaging discussion on a number of issues such as the definition of internal waters, the delineation of internal waters within archipelagic state, the impact of sea level rise to the shape of the coastlines.

I did not touch to much on the legal provisions but I took my time to explain key issues using illustration so it was, I hope, easier for people to understand.