Harvard Kennedy School Launches Inaugural Executive Education Course for Indonesian Officials

December 19, 2011
By Kate Hoagland, Ash Center

“The success of Leadership Transformation in Indonesia lies not with what we have done in the classroom, but rather will be seen over time once you return to your government positions in Indonesia,” said Anthony Saich, Ash Center director, addressing an audience of newly elected Indonesian public servants along with members of the Indonesian embassy, Harvard faculty, researchers, and staff, many in traditional, colorful batik attire. Saich’s remarks were part of the closing dinner commemorating the Center’s inaugural executive education course for Indonesian officials held September 12 through October 7, 2012.

Nineteen recently elected Indonesian district heads and mayors (Bupati and Walikota) along with 19 of their heads of regional development and planning (Ketua Bappeda) served as the first group of students of the Leadership Transformation in Indonesia course. Because newly elected district heads and mayors in Indonesia typically do not come from a background in government service, Leadership Transformation was created to provide an in-depth, country-neutral conceptual framework, essential technical skills, and broader development perspectives for such officials to create and implement innovative solutions to pressing social and political problems.

While Indonesia struggles to cope with challenges as a relatively new democracy, a key focus of Leadership Transformation is institutional capacity building and reform. Since 1998, the country has managed to transition from an authoritarian regime to the world’s first majority-Muslim, multi-party democracy. Yet, issues of poverty, ethnic diversity, inadequate infrastructure, and geographic dispersity threaten to undermine the country’s continued progress. “We can be a powerful example that Islam, democracy, and modernity can go hand in hand,” remarked Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at a JFK Jr. Forum in September of 2009. “But at the same time we face many challenges in the management of poverty and unemployment problems, and in how we can maintain and strengthen our democracy.” Read More

HKS Professor Mary Jo Bane lectures during the inaugural Leadership in Transformation in Indonesia course

Professor Mary Jo Bane lectures during the inaugural "Leadership in Transformation in Indonesia" course.

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

“The success of Leadership Transformation in Indonesia lies not with what we have done in the classroom, but rather will be seen over time once you return to your government positions in Indonesia,” said Anthony Saich, Ash Center director.


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