An English Speech: “Good Leaders will Make a Better Indonesia”

image risa_An English Speech. Topic: Leadership, People Empowering, Community Development. Title: Good Leaders will Make a Better Indonesia.  Speech by: Risa Bhinekawati, one of the most Indonesian inspiring women. Grade: College/University/Government-Public Press. Script and source: Risa Bhinekawati. Re-upload by: by prior permission from Risa.  ©2010_Risa-Bhinekawati


About Risa Bhinnekawati: Risa Bhinekawati is a sustainable development practitioner with more than 17 years senior leadership experience with national and international institutions.  She holds a BA degree in Economics (1992), an MBA degree in Managing in Asia (1999), and a Masters degree in International Policy and Practice (2006).  She currently works on her PhD program in Business and Economics. Her areas of expertise include international development, community development, institutional development, policy development, strategic planning, multi-stakeholder management, change management, corporate responsibility, people management, public and corporate governance, and knowledge management.

Risa is very passionate about improving public and corporate governance as well as sustainable development in Indonesia and other developing countries.  Her Danamon Go Green program won 2nd place of BBC World Challenge 2009 and 1st place of Metro TV-UNDP/MDGs award in 2008 and 2009. She is the recipient of the Australian Leadership Award (2009), the Allison Sudradjat Award (2009), and the Indonesia-Australia Merdeka Fellowship (1998) from the Australian government, as well as the Merriman Fellowship (2005) from the George Washington University, USA… More about Risa Bhinekawati, click here>>>…




Speech by Risa Bhinekawati, a recipient of the  Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award at the Australian Leadership Award Conference Dinner, the National Museum of Australia, 16 March 2010.  The dinner is part of the AusAID Leadership Development Program conference organized by Curtin University, attended by AusAID officials and 180 recipients of the Australian Leadership Awards from 26 Asia Pacific Countries.

Good evening.

It is a real honor for me to receive the Australian Leadership Award, the Allisson Sudradjat Award, and to have an opportunity to deliver this speech.

I thank God for allowing me to reach this far. Being an eldest child of a civil servant in Indonesia is a challenging experience. When I grew up, my family had to work very hard to earn extra money so that my siblings and I could go to school.  Before school, I had to get up at 4am in the morning to go to the market, and then helped my mother to prepare food to cater for the neighborhood. My parents are very special people who have always been my role model.  They show us integrity, perseverance, and faith for not giving up our dreams.

After finishing high school in 1984, I went to evening classes at a secretarial academy and worked as a temporary secretary. By combining school and work, I have been able to solve my short-term needs while building a path towards my long-term career aspirations. I obtained a BA degree in Economics in 1992 with my personal savings, an MBA degree in 1999 with the Indonesia-Australia Merdeka Fellowship from the Australian Government, and a Masters degree in International Policy in 2006 with Merriman Fellowship from the George Washington University, and hopefully will get my PhD in 2012 with the Australian Leadership Award.

For the last 18 years, I have been in seven leadership positions in national and international institutions, dealing with establishing organizations and empowering people; formulating policies and implementing strategic planning; and managing interactions between the government, private sector and civil society. In 2009, my community development program, Danamon Go Green, won the second place in the BBC World Challenge, selected from 900 programs worldwide.  In this program, Danamon Foundation works together with 31 local governments all over Indonesia to convert organic market waste into high quality compost and improve agriculture production.  Every month we process 400 tons of waste into 120 tons of fertilizer.  We also implement management techniques such as balanced score card and on-line reporting for monitoring and evaluation of local governments’ performance.

I never imagine before that my efforts in bringing together the strengths of local government, private sector and community in solving environmental issues while building prosperity at grass-roots level would get such a high recognition.  I am so proud that I am able to bring a local innovation of Indonesia to global audience.  This experience confirm my believe that Indonesians can do better if we are serious and persevere in achieving our goals.

Looking back, I have been wondering why a country with rich natural resources and social capital such as Indonesia cannot afford basic needs for its civil servants and public services for its citizens. Along my career journey, I have built my understanding about the root cause of the problem: lack of public and private sector governance cause corruption; and corruption causes poverty.  As you may know, Indonesia continues its process of transition toward economic and democratic governance.  The country needs strong leaders with a combination of integrity and capability to manage that transition.

Leadership attributes sparkle from within.  I find that my success and failures depend on how effective I motivate others, how much I learn from others, and how well I work with others.

I believe good leaders will make a significant difference, and my dream of having a better Indonesia always motivates me to make good personal and professional decisions.  Now I am 44 with a meaningful life: a mother of a 15 year-old son, a wife, and a senior leader with a proven track record. It is time for me to pursue my real passion to improve the welfare and dignity of Indonesia’s diverse communities. To do so, I need to enhance my capacity and skills so I can play a significant leadership role in the legislative or executive body of Indonesian government. As a leader and a change agent within the government, I believe I can contribute greatly in improving Indonesian human development indexes and governance ratings internationally.

Download this speech completely (pdf.), click here>>>…



3 responses to “An English Speech: “Good Leaders will Make a Better Indonesia”

  1. oh great…
    nice info…
    good luck bro

  2. i am taking my masters degree on a local school and i love it ~

  3. very informative, for more info you may visit

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