A Day of Youth Empowerment was an event commemorating Indonesia Education Day. It was held on Saturday 30 April at Widya Mandira Catholic University (WMCU). As well as commemorating Indonesia Education Day, the event enabled participants to learn about scholarship programs and strengthen relationships among students in Kupang.

The event panel comprised Marselinus Ulu Fahik (Australia Awards Scholarship recipient), Stevie A Nappoe (Fulbright Scholarship), Albert Ch. Soewongsono (Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan Scholarship), and Elisabet A Werang (Van Deventer-Maas Stichting Scholarship), who shared both their experiences about their respective scholarship programs and useful tips for participants. There were 36 people from AIYA’s Nusa Tenggara Timur chapter and MITRA (Mahasiswa Indonesia Timur Relasi Asing) involved in the collaborative committee, who worked hard to make this event successful.


The various speakers at the A Day of Youth Empowerment event. Photo: AIYA NTT

200 people participated; among them were the Head of English Study Program of WMCU, Dr Kletus Erom, M Hum, and LPDP and VDMS recipients. Head of the committee, Dana Nadia Mudin, opened the event, while Lilyen Sede, AIYA NTT representative, Lilyan Sede, delivered a speech. Before beginning the information sharing session, Maria Febriani Seran, president of MITRA WMCU, presented each panelist with a gift, a Timorese woven scarf.

The information session consisted of four panelists and was moderated by Elia Simon. The first panelist, Marselinus Ulu Fahik, AAS alumnus, shared his advice for maintaining motivation, successfully fulfilling scholarship criteria, and seeking out further information. His key pieces of advice were as follows:

Marselinus also presented probing challenged to those present, such as:

  • Ask youself: What is my motivation?
  • Search for appropriate courses
  • Share ideas with friends who share the same dreams
  • Join group discussions available on- and off-line

LPDP recipient Albert Christian Soewongsono. Photo: AIYA NTT

The second panelist, Stevie A Nappoe, Fulbright Scholar, shared information about this program, its pull factor, and strategies towards success. The third and youngest panelist was Albert Christian Soewongsono, LPDP recipient. He shared advice on how to write a good essay, how best to participate in the group discussion, strategies for on the spot writing and how to conduct oneself in the interview. He also elaborated on the differences between AAS and LPDP. The final panelist was Elisabet A Werang, VDMS alumnus, who shared the history of VDMS, the activities involved, and also the criteria VDMS desires in its candidates.

Third on the agenda was a ten-minute mingling session in which participants had one-on-one discussions with the panelists. If in the previous session participants were reluctant to ask questions, in the less formal atmosphere of the mingling session many eagerly approached the panelists while enjoying snacks together.

The final agenda item was a screening of the film The Ron Clark Story (2006) directed by Randa Haines, which is about a teacher who teaches in an extremely disorderly classroom. The students are mischievous and always receive the lowest mark in the school, and seem helpless in their academic studies. But the teacher, Mr Clark, does not give up. He faces many obstacles but keeps trying and ensures everyone in his class become like a family, and a family does not leave one other. At the end of the film, the students receive the highest marks in their district in the standardised examination.


Total attendees gathered at Widya Mandira Catholic University. Photo: AIYA NTT

All were very positive about the event, which hopefully will encourage them to do more as the agent of change and as a member of an educational society. Indeed, Marselinus provided these words of inspiration at the end of his presentation:

  • Grab the CHANCE
  • Build POSITIVE motivations
  • Prepare and take your TIME
  • Never stop TRYING

May this event change our mindset to be better and encourage more students to put more effort into receiving a scholarship for higher education. As a result of that, the quality of education in Indonesia will hopefully improve.