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.

Toleransi Berseri di Ujung Negeri

UGM mewajibkan mahasiswa S1 dan D4 untuk mengikuti Kuliah Kerja Nyata (KKN) dan cukup banyak dari mereka yang memilih untuk ber-KKN di pelosok negeri, jauh dari Kampus UGM di Yogyakarta. Tahun ini saya mendapat kepercayaan mendampingi sekelompok mahasiswa untuk ber-KKN di Desa Dalum, Kecamatan Salibabu, Kabupaten Talaud, Sulawesi Utara. Secara singkat, kami biasa menyebutnya KKN Talaud.

Talaud adalah kabupaten paling utara di Indonesia dan sangat banyak orang Indonesia yang bahkan tidak mengetahuinya sama sekali. Setiap kali saya bercerita tentang Talaud, saya harus mengutip lagu iklan Indomie “dari Sabang sampai Merauke, dari Timor sampai ke Talaud”. Menariknya, tidak sedikit yang kemudian heran dan baru sadar bahwa ada kata Talaud dalam lagu itu. Rupanya sangat banyak yang mendengar “dari Sabang sampai Merauke, dari Timor sampai Kota Laut”. Tentu saja maknanya berbeda dan hilang satu titik penting di negeri ini: Talaud, kabupaten paling utara negeri.

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Student Community Services in Talaud

Conducting community services or engagement is compulsory for every single student of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) especially those in the undergraduate and Diploma 4 programs. Every year, UGM send around 7,000 students to remote areas all over Indonesia, covering 34 provinces and hundreds of regencies/cities.The students have to live with the community, literally living in their houses and live the life as how they live their everyday life. For most of the students, this can be a life-changing experience.

This year, I am assigned as a supervisor of a group of students conducting community services in Talaud, the northernmost regency of Indonesia’s. The island is close to Miangas, one of the most famous islands when it comes to sovereignty issue. From Jogjakarta, Talaud can be reached by three flights in around 15 hours. What a long journey.

I had an opportunity to visit the students on 23-37 June 2017. It was a very interesting experience since they were there during the Ramadhan. Yes, most of them were fasting and the village where they lived is a 100% christian village. No Moslem at all and that became a very rewarding experience for everybody. My notes in Bahasa Indonesia has been published at http://ugm.id/KKNTalaud