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.

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.


Discussing Presidential Candidate’s Vision on Maritime Affairs

The Indonesian Ocean Justice Initiative (IOJI) extended an invitation to me to take part in a discussion on  Presidential Candidate’s Vision on Maritime Affairs. It was such an honor. I flew to Jakarta on 6 February 2024 to join the discussion forum at the Katadata Building. The event was a collaboration between IOJI and Katadata.

The team of each presidential candidate presented their vision and plan on maritime affairs and two experts were asked to respond and give comments. Serving as the experts are Mas Arie from UI and I. It was great to be there. I also admire how IOJI managed to present its study on maritime issues and the law of the sea in Indonesia with public domain data. Such a comprehensive report, I think.

The event was recorded and here is part of it:


PK221: Speaking at the LPDP Pre-Departure Preparation Program of January 2024

It was 2015 when I was asked for the first time to speak at the LPDP Pre-Departure Preparation Program. Hundred of the Indonesian young people were set to travel all around the Globe to study master of PhD. They were paving their way to become global scholars. It was an honor for me to speak to them to prepare their journey.

It seems that my 2015 performance was acceptable and here I am now. After almost a decade after my first appearance in the respected stage in front of the Indonesian scholars to be,  I, once again, was asked to speak at the same event. It was 9 January 2024 in Jakarta. I spoke in front of hundreds of young and energetic people. It was so much fun.

A little bit different from my usual topic, which is academic writing and how to become scholar, this time, I delivered something around “Scholar Social Responsibility”. It is always good to try something new. I prepared the lecture seriously since there were a lot to add into my existing content.  I am glad that I delivered it well. At least I presented the lecture as well as I prepared it.

One special note about the event was that Akram, my former student, was part of the group.  Not only as a regular participant, Akram served as the moderator for my session. There is no bigger happiness for a teacher like me than seeing my student sitting next to me in a same stage and then fly higher to reach his/her dream. I am a happy teacher.

Unity in Diversity at UGM

It has been a long journey, indeed. Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) eventually realised its dream to have a religious center for all official religions in Indonesia. Located in Sekip, not far from UGM’s Central Building, a religious facility has been established and was inaugurated by UGM’s Head of the Board of Trustees, Prof. Pratikno on 19 December 2023.

The religious facility consists of two Churches (Catholic and Christian), one Pagoda or Joss-hose (Konghucu) one Vihar (Buddhists) and one Temple (Hindu). I am grateful to be a small part of this great initiative.


Blue Economy Workshop at ANCORS, Australia

It was great to eventually be able to visit Australia after a long absence.  To me, Australia feels like my second home. I did spend about ten years in Australia for my master and PhD studies in 2004-2013. Coming back to this country is like coming home. So much memories to share.

Towards the end of 2023, I had an opportunity to attend a short course on Blue Economy organised by the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), the University of Wollongong. ANCORS is my alma mater where I  did my PhD degree, a beautiful place to study.  Wollongong, being a coastal area, is also an ideal place to explore studies on ocean affairs and the law of the sa.

During the one-week workshop on blue economy, we learned some key concepts and practices. Here is the training contents:

Day 1 (Nov 27th): Visit and Discussion with NGO in Sydney (8 hours)

  • 8.00 am Arrive SFM: External Site Exploration and Observation, guided by Alistair McIlgorm
  • 8.45 Sydney Fish Market (FSM) Balcony Observation and Discussion, facilitated by Erik Poole
  • 10.00-12.00 Presentation at Ocean Watch, Fishing Industry NGO, by Lowri Price, CEO
  • 14.30-16.00 Tourism Business Processes Observation (from Sydney Harbour to Circular Quay), guided by Lucky Wuwung

Day 2 (Nov 28th): Understanding the Blue Economy (8 hours)

  • 09.00-10.30 Introduction and Theory (1 Hour 30 Min) by Michelle Voyer & Alistair Mcilgorm
  • 10.45-11.30 Geospatial Dimension of the Blue Economy (45 Minutes) by Ruth Davis
  • 11.30- 12.30 Marine Economies, Ocean Accounts and The Blue Economy (1 Hour) by Alistair Mcilgorm
  • 13.30-15.00 Blue Economy Policy and Governance by Lucky Wuwung
  • 15.15-16.15 Ocean Ecosystems And Conservation by Constance Rambourg
  • 16.15-17.00 Sustainable Fisheries: The Significance of Fisheries in the Blue Economy by Alistair Mcilgorm

Day 3 (29th Nov): Best Practices in the Blue Economy (8 hours)

  • 9.00-9.30 Key Blue economy issues for Indonesia from Day 1 – review & discussion by Alistair McIlgorm9.30 -10.30   Marine, Coastal Tourism and Recreation by Alistair McIlgorm
  • 10.45 -12.30  Emerging Blue Industries  by Freya Croft  & Michelle Voyer
  • 13.30-15.00 Blue Economy Entrepreneurship by Tillmann Boehme & Dominique Benzaken
  • 15.15-16.30 Implementing the Blue Economy by Alistair McIlgorm + Multiple staff
  • 16.30-17.00 Closing Session: Networking and Next Steps by Alistair McIlgorm + Multiple staff
  • Day 4 (30th Nov): Marine Tourism Best Practice (8 hours)
  • 08.00  Departure to Jervis Bay
  • 10.00-12.00 Tourism Business Processes Observation at Jervis Bay Marine Park.
  • 13.00-15.00   Jervis Bay Marine Park Authority visit, presentation by Matt Carr et al
  • 14.00 Training closing and preparation for departure

We did learn a lot and have fun too. The group consisted of six people with diverse academic background. The Blue Economy is indeed a multidisciplinary issue where people from various background should work hand in hand collaboratively. The next step for us, the delegates, is to do follow ups on the workshop for the development of blue economy in Indonesia. The road is long and winding but also exciting.

Speaking at the Pre-departure Preparation for LPDP Scholars

It was not the first time but it surely was an exciting one. I was honored to be requested to speak at one of the 2023 pre departure preparation programs for LPDP scholars. It was in Jakarta and I had to travel from Jogja for it was an offline event.

Hundreds of LPDP scholarship recipients were enthusiastic to attend my session on “becoming a scholar”. I shared my views and experience during my journey finishing my master and PhD studies. I also gave them some advices on scientific writings.

overall it was an exciting experience and a rewarding one too. I was so glad to see how excited and they are about starting their study in reputable universities in Indonesia and overseas. I am positive that they are talented young people that Indonesia can count on.

I am sure, they are grateful for the support provided by the country by utilizing money collected from the Indonesian taxpayers. They will, eventually, contribute to the development of Indonesia in the best way they can. Good luck, people!

Sharing on Artificial Intelligence for Education with High School Teachers

I was honoured to be asked to share my views on the application of artificial intelligence in education. It was Pak Tomas, the headmaster of SMP 10 Yogyakarta (junior high school), who came up with the idea. I was invited to share with teachers on the utilization of artificial intelligence in teaching.

It was an exciting yet challenging experience. First, teaching teachers was not easy. Second, it was not something falling within my expertise. It was not maritime boundaries, nor geospatial aspects of the law of the sea. I had to talk about something that I have been using but I am by no means an expert. It was fun though.

Apart from the fact how the teachers were excited when I shared with them the use of ChatGPT, for example, I discovered something even more important. Even though the school is located in Yogyakarta, the same city with UGM, the university where I am teaching, those teachers did not see themselves to have good access to researchers and professors at UGM.

My coming to the school was not only about sharing knowledge. It was about breaking the wall between the school and UGM. I understood better their view and situation. By interacting closely with the teachers, I managed to understand a number of issues regarding the root of problems I have been facing in dealing with my students. It is good to understand the education practice of schools where my university students come from.

I really hope more professors  in UGM and other universities spare their busy time to share with elementary and high school teachers. We need to narrow the gap between us.