AmCham continued its search for innovative ways to keep in close touch with both members and the wider business community, as 68 people joined its debut Virtual Networking Evening on July 9 to mark US Independence Day celebrations.
Keynote speaker former Indonesian Ambassador to the US Dino Patti Djalal was joined by two Indonesians studying in the US, young politician Tsamara Amany Alatas and Dr Candrika Dini Khairani, in what quickly became a celebration of the personal, social, cultural and political benefits of Indonesians studying in the US.
After opening remarks by Heather Variava, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Jakarta, Dino spoke of how “the kindness of America touched my family. Not academic or political but personal.”
He recalled how many years ago his father was studying in the US when the Indonesian government told him to return home, but he elected to stay and continue his studies “with no money or help.”
One academic eventually found him somewhere to stay, and Dino spoke of his father’s experience of the “generous, kind, compassionate, open and welcoming” nature of people in the US.
Dino also spoke of how President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was shaped by his education at Fort Leavenworth in the US. “The US really shaped him into a different kind of leader… [showing him the importance of political values] not so obvious in Indonesia.”
This theme was developed by both Tsamara and Dini, who spoke about how they benefitted personally from experiencing life in the US and its education system.
Tsamara, a politician and Fulbright Scholar at New York University, said the US was “very different as seen from the inside rather than the outside.” Noting that the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic and the reaction to the death of George Floyd had shown the US was much more community-focused and much less individualistic than perceived from outside.
“People [outside] focus too much on the politics, it’s also about the people, who put aside politics for things that really matter.”
She spoke of how her experience “enriches my way of thinking” as there is much more public discourse, noting one example in the way that in the US government is much more open in telling people what is happening on COVID-19, more transparency, which Indonesia could learn from.
“It makes me feel more cosmopolitan. A global citizen. Looking at global challenges.”
Dini, an Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) grantee for her Master of Medical Science in Medical Education at Harvard Medical School, spoke of her experiences during an “unprecedented time” of lockdown and the challenges of switching to online learning, but also glowingly of “amazing” American scientific breakthroughs and advancements.
The two were widely appreciated by attendees, including Dino, with AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann noting: “We may well be in good hands with the next generation.”
The evening took a fun turn with a virtual quiz with 10 trivia questions on US history, followed by a virtual Wheelspin. Prizes were provided by evening sponsors HP, the Kuningan Suites Hotel, Hascar International Motor and Bengkel Strength & Conditioning.
The winners and their prizes:
Virtual Quiz. Winner Evan Fowler, US Embassy, who received one voucher for a one-night stay at three-bedroom Premiere, including breakfast for four persons, worth Rp 3,000,000 from Kuningan Suites Hotel; and one voucher for Fundamental Package at Bengkel Strength & Conditioning worth Rp 1,500,000
The second winner: Milind Gadre of Vision Ease, who received one MAP Voucher for Rp 500,000 and one voucher for Fundamental Package at Bengkel Strength & Conditioning for Rp 1,000,000.
Third winner Derren Joseph of Hayden T Joseph CPA LLP, who received one MAP Voucher for Rp 250,000 and one voucher for Fundamental Package at Bengkel Strength & Conditioning for Rp 500,000.
Inge Halim of IBM won a case of wine on the first Wheelspin.
Renalyn Conception of Hayden T Joseph CPA LLP won the Wheelspin grand prize of an HP Envy 13 laptop.