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.

Serving as a Panelist for the Presidential Candidate Debate

I started the year of 2024 with a big step, at least for me. I was appointed by the Indonesian General Election Commision (KPU) as a panelist for the 2024 Presidential Candidate Debate. It was the third round with a topic around defence, security, international relations, geopolitics, diplomacy. It seems that my focus of research on maritime boundaries has been the reason of me being picked.

I saw, the assignment as a panellist is an accumulation of my two-decade study on geospatial aspects of the law of the sea, particularly maritime boundary issues. In May 2003, I was involved in a project of border demarcation between Indonesia and Timor Leste. The project brought me to Atambua in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia to conduct Global Positioning System (GPS) campaign. It was an eye-opening experience, where I started to understand the boundary making process and how it really is a multi-disciplinary issue.

I never saw that the small step I took twenty years ago would bring me to the national stage as a presidential candidate debate panelist. To be frank, I am so grateful and also proud. To be able to introduce geospatial issues in a presidential debate, for me personally, is an achievement. I really hope that the moment serve as a starting point of more positive roles in the future.

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.

Teaching at UNY from the Airport

On 17 April 2023,  I was invited by my colleague at the State University fo Yogyakarta (UNY) to speak at a seminar/workshop. It was about international collaboration. The content is something that I have been familiar with for the last couple of years. I said yes even though it was not easy. I arrived from Singapore and I was still at the airport by the time I was scheduled to speak.

My flight was delayed for more than 30 minutes and it was too late for my session. The organiser was nice enough to move my session to a later schedule with a hope that I would be able to make it. I did, in fact, but it was not from a proper place. I could not reach a more representative spot at the airport until my schedule was on, so I sat down on the floor and performed.

It was an important session, attended by leaders and management of UNY. I show the room and it was a seminar with big audiences. I better be good. I started by showing the audience a picture of me sitting down on the floor while giving a lecture. I think it worked for an intermezzo. The lecture went well.

A Lecture at CIL, National University of Singapore

I gave a lecture at the Center for International Law (CIL), National University of Singapore on 14 April 2023. It was a closed-door lecture for the topic was reasonable sensitive. I talked about maritime boundary delimitation in the South China Sea, especially regarding the one recently agreed upon by Indonesia and Vietnam.

Prof. Bob Beckman was there during the lecture attended by people from the Attorney General and the Marine and Port Authority. We had an intimate and engaging conversation about issues around the South China Sea. I also learned a lot from the interaction.