BANYUWANGI (11/21) — In an effort to increase the capacity of local governments in creating innovative public policy, TRANSFORMASI gathered 11 regents and mayors from some regions around Indonesia, in Banyuwangi, for three days, from 20 to 22 November 2014. The agenda of this event featured some consultations and discussions to study a variety of problems and to explore the needs of local governments in public policy-related capacity building toward various sectors.
The event was arranged by TRANSFORMASI in cooperation with the US Consulate General (Surabaya Chapter), Rajawali Foundation, and the host of the event, the Government of Banyuwang. The theme ‘Reinventing Local Leadership Training for a New Era in Governance’ was picked for this special event.
In addition to the consultation session with 11 regents and mayors through a focus group discussion, the three days event contained with a welcoming dinner that was attended by US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake, sea turtle release at Boom Beach, thanksgiving dinner, and Banyuwangi's Annual Ethno Carnival.
The discussions activity with regional leaders was held at Ketapang Indah Hotel, Banyuwangi, and it was started at 09:30 until 11:30 pm. Likewise, the welcoming dinner and thanksgiving event was also held in the same venue, respectively on Thursday the 20th and Friday the 21st.
On the opening remark delivers by Banyuwangi Regent, Abdullah Azwar Anas, he was mentioning about the rapid progress that has been achieved by Banyuwangi, and he also expecting that this activity can strengthen and build relationships between the alumni of the Regional Leadership Program-Harvard Kennedy School Indonesia Program (RLP HKSIP) and future prospective participant, which consisting of regents and the mayors to exchange more experiences and knowledge to develop more regions in Indonesia.
Executive Director of TRANSFORMASI, Nugroho Wienarto, was explaining that the consultation and discussions activity with the regents and mayors are part of the RLP, which is included as the regular program of TRANSFORMASI. This program aims to increase the capacity of the government to create an innovative public policy, with an emphasis on improving the ability to analyze existing case study on the field.
"Furthermore, this program is intended to stimulate collaboration and exchange of information among governments in the region," said Nugroho.
The RLP, he added, is a refinement of the 2011 – 2013 Harvard Kennedy School Indonesia Program, which was supported by the Rajawali Foundation. However, the program’s design has been modified with more emphasis on three themes; the management of urban, rural, and marine fisheries.
"These three themes are the primary focus of TRANSFORMASI as a network agency for policy makers, scholars and general public to review various public issues that arise in the community, while developing solutions, and evaluate the results," Nugroho added.
Regents and Mayors who attended the event were including; Banyuwangi Regent, Nganjuk Vice Regent, Regent Morotai, East Flores Regent, Regent Minahasa, North Luwu Regent, Regent Dompu, Kediri Mayor, Bau Bau Mayor, Gorontalo Mayor, and Bima Mayor.
The decision to invite the 15 regents and mayors were based on the capacity and characteristics of each region that were suitable with the focus themes of the TRANSFORMASI program. For example, the regions of Morotai and East Flores have the capacity and characteristics related to the theme of fisheries and marine. Then, Kediri and Bima have the characteristic that in line with the urban theme. Meanwhile, Nganjuk and Dompu, have characteristics related with the rural themes. And in addition to the 15 regional heads, TRANSFORMASI was also invited several regents and mayors from some other areas, such as the city of Malang, Blitar, Serdang Berdagai, Kaimana, and Sorong. However, due to other important agenda, they could not be present at the discussion and consultation in Banyuwangi.
"We want to get as many inputs from the discussions related to the the three theme. The output of the discussions will be developed further to design a training program that is able to fulfill the needs in increasing the capacity of the regional heads to create innovative public policy," said Nugroho.
Greeting the New Era
The entire discussions and consultation activities were guided by TRANSFORMASI Senior Advisor of Governance Department, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, who is formerly served as the first Indonesian Minister of Marine and Fisheries. The discussion was also attended by representatives of the Consulate General of the United States, as the event’s observer, and representatives of the Rajawali Foundation, as the event’s supporter.
The US Ambassador to Indonesia, Robert Blake, was welcoming such activities of the Regional Leadership Program by TRANSFORMASI and stating that he would strongly supporting the program. According to the Ambassador, this new era of Indonesian Government is an opportunity for Indonesia to grow further. The presence of innovative region leaders is principally needed within this very era.
"Indonesia is currently growing as a steady democracy country. With a new leader for the Government like President Joko Widodo, hopefully it will bring a positive influence to the entire region as well," said Blake.
The President of Rajawali Foundation, Jonathan Pincus, added that the role of region leaders in Indonesia in Indonesia is becoming very important for the future direction of Indonesian transformation. The presence of President Joko Widodo, who was formerly a mayor and also a governor, shows that the good quality of leadership in the regional level could shape a high-quality national leader as well.
"The theme of ‘Reinventing Local Leadership Training for a New Era in Governance’ is fairly representing our hope for the future leadership of the local government in accordance with the spirit of the new era of Indonesia," said Jonathan.