A note from the Chevening Forum 2010 by Rini Astuti

This forum is a first step to create a long lasting global connection in which ideas is celebrated, innovation is renowned and action is manifested.

Before the big day

Two weeks ago around 100 brilliant Chevening scholars from more than 30 countries gathered in the Innovation Centre at the University of Bath. It was a Chevening 2010 forum which was initiated by Pedro Parraguez Ruiz (Chevening scholar from Chile) and supported by the Foreign Commonwealth Office of The UK (FCO). There were 6 Indonesian Chevening scholars attending the forum including myself.

Weeks before the forum, I was so nervous, never before I felt so anxious in my life. Why? That was because I will be one of the presenters in the Chevening Forum. My presentation will be on climate change and sustainable development. To present such an important and hot topic is a big burden for me, especially when my audiences are young excellent scholars from all over the world. At that time, so many negative imaginations came into my mind: how if I get stuck in the middle of my presentation; how if the audiences do not understand my heavy Indonesian-English accent; how if I look stupid and could not answer the questions and so forth. There were other thousands of “how if” terrorizing my mind and I was so tempted to send email to the organizer to cancel my presentation.

Days passed by with thousands of worries inside my mind and my heart, and there were 2 weeks left to prepare my presentation. At the same time deadline for essays and another course assignments were approaching. Sometimes student’s life is just like hell. Then, just like a drop of water in the middle of Sahara, friends of mine sent a text, he said: “You are what you think, if you think you can then you can”.

After read that message, I opened my laptop and started to create my first presentation slides: the working title of the presentation. I tried hard to figure out how to make a good and communicative presentation on a heavy scientific topic which could be enjoyed by everyone with a diverse academic background. Then I remember about Al Gore, the greatest climate change campaigner and presenter, who always succeed to steal the audiences’ heart. I googled Al Gore speech and presentation, and found a great website: www.ted.com. In this website you can watch online more than 1000 great and inspiring presentations and speech by leaders of the world, scientists, entrepreneurs, and many more. In addition to that, the gorgeous thing from this website is: they provide us with script text from the presentation, so don’t worry about our listening capacity.

I watched riveting presentations on climate change from Al Gore, Yann Arthus Bertrand (the producer of Home the movie), Larry Brilliant (Google director), and many more to learn the way they deliver the presentation. There were three things that I learnt from them about a good presentation: first, you will be able to make a good presentation if you present it with passion. Passion will make you feel confidence because you are doing what you are passionate about. Furthermore, self confidence will make you shine in front of your audiences. Second, simplify the topic into analogues and metaphor which are close to our daily life. Simple analogue and metaphor will help the audiences understand what you are talking about even though it is a very difficult heavy goobledogggy scientific topic. Third, communicate with audiences, look into their eyes, speak to their face, use intonation and make a joke, don’t be too serious.

After a bloody struggling, my presentation slide was ready. Check this link to see what my presentation on low carbon society looks like. http://issuu.com/parraguezr/docs/3riniastuti. I practiced my presentation in front of two friends of mine to see if people understand what I talk about. I got a constructive critiques and supports from all of them and they helped me to improve my presentation.

The Big Day

And the day came. I took a morning train to Bath from London. Despite a windy and chilly day, I felt warmth and enthralled to meet so many brilliant young future leaders from more than 30 countries. That was a very big day full of challenging ideas and genuine initiatives. The topic of the forum is innovation and there were 6 main presentations and 6 focus group discussions/bar-camp. Some of the issues discussed in the forum were: innovation, climate change and the environment, global justice, transparency, media, regional development and education. At that time I was so proud with the active participation from all of my Indonesian colleagues, 2 of the presentation and 3 bar-camp were lead by Indonesian scholar.

From the programme schedule, I knew that I will only have 15 minutes to deliver my presentation and followed by 5 minutes Q&A session. I said to myself that I am going to make this presentation a good and enjoyable one. And there it was, I stood up in front of the audiences, I was frozen for a second realizing that I will only have one chance and therefore I should make it work. I greeted the audiences, smiled at them, and then the words just coming through my mouth. I was totally fine, full of self confidence, and able to made a good joke. I was even enjoy every second of my presentation, feel the audiences’ full attention to me, their laugh and their surprising comment. There was no single of my “how if” imagination happened.

This note will not end beautifully if I just tell you the story behind the presentation. I need to tell you what my presentation was about. My presentation is about the low carbon society and it was divided into three main sections. In the first section I talked about what is climate change, what are the causes and the impacts of the climate change. In this section I gave an illustration of the total green house gas emissions in the world which now reached 30 billion Giga-ton of carbon and this is equal to 6 billion elephants. Could you ever imagine 6 billion elephants hanging in the world sky? In the second section, I talked about the political context of climate change. And in the last section, I talked about low carbon society, why should we go for low carbon society and what are the critical factors which will enable us to develop our path toward low carbon society.

There are at least 3 main factors that will help us build our low carbon society. The first factor is innovation. Radical innovation can save human lives. Some of the examples of radical innovation are the green technology and the invention of the nano technology; this technology could create a cheaper renewable energy for human life. Innovation in the business sector is also needed. There are many big companies in the world rethinking their business strategies; they consider green as the next big thing. And the most important innovation is creativity. Whether you are in education, design, retail, or computer engineering, creativity is the key to invent and create our low carbon society.

The second key factor is changes. To develop our low carbon society, we need to change the way we live and we need to redefine our meaning of wealth. One of the simple ways to do this is by becoming a green consumer. We have choices in everything that we buy and we should always consider the basic question: do we really need to buy? Or could we recycle and reuse what is available. And beyond self changes, we need changes in the way we govern and inhabit this world. It means we need changes in our economic and democratic system. An economy which is driven by the fossil fuels is proved to be a wrong choice, we need a new economic system: low carbon economy, and to make this happens we need a more equal and just world. A world where the polluter pays what they have done to the environment and a world where we all have a common but differentiate responsibility to reduce emissions.

The last important factor is leadership. Each generation has its own challenges. We witnessed the victory of human rights when the slavery ended in 19th century. We witnessed the spirit of equality when women finally have their right to vote. And now, we as a current generation are facing the challenge of climate change. What we need is another heroic generation and to win the battle of our generation, we need to be catalysts of change. We need to teach others about climate change, learn about it, and talk about it. The last, it’s time for us to ask our government for their leadership in tackling climate change. We need their political will to see the problem of climate change with a sense of urgency. We do have the capacity and our current technology is enough, what we need now is a political will from our government to mobilise the resource to tackle the problem of climate change.

I ended my presentation by asking all the audiences in the forum: where does this challenge of climate change lead us? As young generations and Chevening scholars where does it take us?

After the big day

After the forum, all of us went back to our life as a student. I was sure that all of us who attended the forum went back with a fuller energy and ideas in our mind, and of course a longer list and plan to contribute more to make this world a better place to live. This forum is a first step to create a long lasting global connection in which ideas is celebrated, innovation is renowned and action is manifested. I cannot wait for the next Chevening summer forum which will be held in York (I hope).

London, 11th May 2010
Rini Astuti
Education UK Ambassador British Council Indonesia
Chevening Scholar
King’s College London
MSc Carbon Science, Society and Change

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Barcamp: “Chevening Collaborative Projects & Ideas”

Strengthening the Chevening Community

Strengthening the Chevening Community

After the Barcamp “Chevening Collaborative Projects & Ideas”, some very interesting proposals emerged from the discussion. Below there is a list with some of the ones that ranked higher in the “impact” – “ease of implement” matrix:

1. Internship scheme for Chevening scholars: Everybody agreed that relevant professional experience, immediately after we graduate, could be an important plus to complement our Chevening experience. Some options discussed to implement a internship scheme (between 3 to 12 months) were:

    • Work supporting internal projects of the FCO, other governmental agencies, NGOs or private partners here in the UK. This could include positions such as research fellow or more applied areas.
    • Work for the FCO, British Council, British NGOs or Chevening Alumni in another country (different from the country of residence of the scholar). This would increase further the international experience and create important networks. At the time the employer receives a high level master degree graduate (probably paying less than the regular market salary) with high motivation and ready to apply all his/her academic experience.
    • Like in the other two alternatives but in the country of residence of the scholar. This would ease the transition to a more permanent job and allow creating time for further networking, especially between alumni and the British community in the respective countries.

Potentially all this alternatives could be open in the programme if this scheme is implemented. The main issues here to a potential implementation are to create a framework and communicate the internship programme to the relevant stakeholders, so they can be aware of the possibility of receiving graduated Chevening scholars to work with them.

2. Virtual public library for the dissertations: A website where all the dissertations (and eventually interesting papers and other reports) can be submitted was proposed. This as a way to make visible all the work from alumni and scholars, promote networking based in our areas of interest (all the dissertations would have a way to contact the author) and create a source of public knowledge that can be used freely for anyone that might need it. Because of the 26 years of the programme, a potential of over 5.000 dissertations could be part of this virtual catalogue. The idea is that the alumni can submit their works themselves, avoiding in this way administrative costs.

3. Private database with the contacts of all the scholars and alumni and an easy way to search it: This project has already started, Gary will have news soon!

4. Build the network in our countries: The idea is to have a more organized and active Chevening community when we return to our country. It was proposed that the recent graduates, as soon as they return to their countries, start working in a set of activities with the alumni and the British community. The first months after we return should be the more intensive, to take advantage of the high motivation and the relative free time at our disposal (compared with other Alumni). Each year new graduates should take the leadership to activate the community, this could include the organization of gatherings and collaborative projects.

5. Chevening virtual job market: A centralized international platform where to facilitate the offer and demand of jobs between Chevening alumni was proposed. The idea is to strength our ties and facilitate international mobility as well as the overall impact of the community.  This links with point 1, because with such a system in place, scholars soon to finish their programmes could get to know opportunities available in different parts of the world and apply for them.

There were many other interesting ideas, but I leave you with these ones for now to facilitate the discussion and create some focus. If you feel I miss something important or you want to add something to these points, please send your comment to this post here in the blog!

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Globalisation and Social Policy

This is the report of Lishia Erza (http://www.trubytes.com) Barcamp leader of this session

Barcamp Leaders:

  • Sulisia Erza (Lishia), Nottingham
  • Mo Akhavi Pour, Manchester

At the start of the barcamp, the group was given a short introduction on the context and focus of discussion (1 minute). Bold words in this report mark keywords during the discussion. Contacts for further discussion are listed at the end of this document.

Context & Focus

1.  Governments admit that there are problems/challenges posed by globalisation and that globalisation is a tremendously broad concept. The context of this discussion is limited to aspects: education, social, culture, trade, security. Where globalisation creates problems or provide solutions.

2.  The multidimensional characteristic and evolution of globalisation call for collaboration between actors and connect different aspects to find solutions. With this in mind, this barcamp focuses on:

a.  How globalisation shapes social policy?

b.  What alternative solutions are available/can we come up with?

  1. How do we stabilise processes?

d.  What are our priorities?

Barcamp Discussion

The lively discussion in this barcamp started with a heated debate about whether international organizations (IO) such as the UN aggravate or mitigate globalisation’s impact on developing countries. On one hand, IO serve as a platform for dispute settlement and enhances welfare, but unstable and often unsuccessful due to flawed governance within the IO.

IOs today need significant reforms in their governance and practice. There seems to be a tendency for IO to keep extending timeframes in development projects. For example, programs that were originally targeted to reach goals in 5 years are extended to 10 or more years when mid-project evaluation is carried out. Targets are revised, but not existing practices that have hampered goal attainment. (Point of reference: The White Man’s Burden – Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good).

The group identifies 3 areas for collaboration in order to mitigate globalisation’s impact on the shaping on social policies:

1.  On efforts to challenge flawed aims and practices in IO

2.  On promoting education and exchange of ideas

3.  On developing sound security policies to manage conflict

Priorities for collaboration in social policy begin with identifying stakeholders and defining roles. Globalisation have created gaps not only within societies in a country but also between states at global level. This gap increases conflict risk as roles and interests diverge. The ultimate worst possible scenario is war when it comes to resource allocation.

Therefore, envisioning our roles as future leaders, this barcamp agreed on the following social policy priority list:

1. Poverty alleviation and promotion of equitable education

Poverty and education complements each other. Poverty alleviation cannot rely on charities. Economic development may have potential for poverty alleviation, but with a note that there has to be clear definition of boundaries in market leadership. Promoting education, especially increasing literacy will create human capital and social empowerment.

There are debates on definitions of economic development and social inclusion. But the general consensus is that inequalities must be solved in economic and social terms. Opportunities for life and education is a central point.

2. Freedom of speech and access to information

The barcampers acknowledged that not all countries subscribe to the idea of open media, freedom of speech and access to information, therefore it is important that freedom of information has to be a goal.

Globalisation enables exchange of information in volume and speed via internet. Freedom of speech and access has to work towards understanding and using information to tackle existing challenges and further develop.

3. Closing technological gap

Technology does not stop at information/digital technology (i.e. internet). Industrial technology, biotechnology, and other uses technology should also be accessible to developing countries. Closing this gap rely heavily on the effective of education policies.

4. Building new markets

Related to economic development, the current base of economic power in developing countries are seen as unfair. Developing countries have agriculture-based economies, making wealth creation more difficult when compared to advance industry-based economies.

Re-investment of economic growth must happen, not simply focusing on macro economic stability but also taking into account domestic tensions and solving these tensions. Market is a tool and it needs sound regulation. Creation of new markets require guidance, and effective states should be able to take on this role.

5. Reducing international anarchy & promoting freedom as security

Security is defined by this barcamp as freedom from and freedom to, as security does not only concern military security, but also in food and other goods.

The current geopolitical environment is prone to conflict as it is coloured with narrow national interests. Integration and management of interests should happen via effective international organisations. Power structure reforms must take place for IO to be fairer and more effective.

6. Empowering developing countries to become active participants

Developing countries are often rained by recommendations and a list of conditions attached to development aid. Capacity building is no doubt important although currently the concept of “development” is heavily defined by super-powers. Developing countries should aim to be active participants and equal partners in globalisation.

7. Promoting effective public-private partnership

Globalisation is filled with opportunities and dangers. Collaboration and partnership with other effective entities will make it easier for state governments to stabilize globalization processes and make the best use of it. Private enterprises are often more effective and efficient in tackling global problems. Building partnerships will help governments re-do processes.

Thinking Forward

Globalisation has been a blessing and a curse to both developed and developing countries. The common idea between the barcampers is for redistribution of power at global level. There is an unspoken commitment that the barcampers will strive for a fairer world development.

Looking into the future, there are a few things that this session’s barcamper list points to think about in the quest to re-balance power:

  1. Elimination os preferential treatments in international trade
  2. Reconfiguration of voting weights in international organizations
  3. Creation of stronger unity between developing and low income countries
  4. Campaign to stop treating poverty as a disease. Poverty is not a disease. Poverty is a call to fulfill moral obligations to fellow human beings.
  5. Collaborative and creative thinking to come up with innovative solutions, build effective models
  6. Empowering local economies through micro-financing and social entrepreneurship
  7. Introspecting own government and making governments more effective to answer to global challenges.
  8. Taxation and redistribution of wealth should happen not only within countries but also across
  9. Incentives to be involved in global agendas should be available for both developed and developing countries. It makes no sense for advanced countries to give up their power if there is no incentive.
  10. Generation of equilibrium in various aspects
  11. Generation of motivation for every body/society to contribute to well-being worldwide
  12. The barcampers agree to commit to keeping the spirit alive.
Sulisia Erza (Lishia) MA Social & Global Justice (Nottingham) [email protected]
Mohamed Akhavi Pour International Business and Management (Manchester) [email protected]
Maria Sokolova MSc International Strategy & Economics (St. Andrews) [email protected]
Julius Cheah Health System & Public Policy (Edinburgh) [email protected]
Hovhannes Stepan [email protected]
Dharendra Wardhana MSc Economic Development and Policy Analysis (Nottingham) [email protected]
Priscilla Kosasih MPhil Perspective on Inclusion and Special Education (Cambridge) [email protected]
Carlos Alexandre Nascimento MPA Public Policy and Management (LSE) [email protected]
Ahmed Osama (Cambridge) [email protected]
Nadeyah Farasha (Nottingham)
Ekaterina Pirozhkova (LSE) [email protected]
Evelyn Ngalonsa MA Conflict, Security and Development (Bradford) [email protected]

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Barcamp: Healthcare & Other Public Services – How to Innovate to Keep Up With Demands

This is the report from Lishia Erza (http://www.trubytes.com) leader of this Barcamp session

Healthcare & Other Public Services – How to Innovate to Keep Up With Demands

Barcamp Leader: Sulisia Erza ([email protected])

At the start of the barcamp, the group was given a short introduction on the context and focus of discussion (1 minute). Bold words in this report mark keywords during the discussion. Contacts for further discussion is listed at the end of this document.

Context & Focus

  1. Innovation in public service has the following goals:
    1. to improve quality
    2. to rebuild trust in government

Therefore innovation in public sector is not just about coming up with bright ideas or new policies, but innovation is also needed in putting ideas into practice.

  1. Looking at the demands, innovation can have large scale or incremental focus, each will have different challenges.
  2. With this context in mind, the barcamp focuses its discussion on:
    1. Who is responsible for developing and implementing new practice
    2. How to catalyse and sustain innovation
    3. Good practice sharing mechanism for replication in other areas (geographic & issue)

Barcamp Discussion

We identified several actors involved/responsible for public service innovation in general:

Government The government is responsible to secure public welfare and develop the society. However, the government has limited period of office, filled with people who are constantly changing their roles, and therefore innovation has lesser sustainability unless a government is in rule for more than 2 periods.

The main role of the government in innovation is to inspire and set long term goals, as the government is usually the one with comprehensive data on current state of public service and what the demands are. The government is limited in its capacity to implement, therefore state government is in need of partnership with other actors.

International Organizations IO has higher sustainability with its programs and approach. More often, IO has bigger capacity to influence/catalyze innovation because IO governance lasts longer (lower turnover compared to state government). MDGs for example has a 15 year target, which is more achievable when driven by IO than by state government as no state government lasts for 15 years.

The role of IO is to facilitate sustainability.

Society

(private enterprises, local groups, specific organisations, academia)

Examples were taken from Russia and UK on the role of society (in a broad sense) as catalysts of innovation. These actors often have bigger financial and technical capacities, therefore they can take on the role to foster:

  1. 1. targeted research and development
  2. implementation

For example, private companies through CSR programs often establish educational institutions, NHS (UK) began an awareness program by involving students and social media.

Although there is a consensus that these actors have to collaborate and form partnerships and that the level of actors’ influence differ in different countries, differences of opinion occur on the flow of innovation between top down and bottom up approaches.

The barcampers finally agree that governments are better at large-scale innovation focus while private/society groups are better at incremental innovation focus. This is due to differences in drive (needs, expectations, aspiration, policy) and obstacles to innovation.

An example for drive is taken from healthcare reforms in the USA – that even though the existing US healthcare system was profitable and delivers good quality, it did not keep up  with societal changes. With implementation of the current reform, the US have taken a position that a welfare state is the way forward. In this case, social change is a catalyst for innovation.

However, it has to be taken into consideration that bottom-up approach affects financing. Scandinavian countries impose high taxes (50-60%) to fund welfare schemes. Uganda (on IMF’s recommendation) cancels user fee, resulting in the inability of the government to provide basic health services.

The lesson learned from the above:

  1. Innovation (when supported by international organizations) has to take into consideration institutional differences between countries, specifically on what is valued more in specific locations.
  2. State government must take on regulatory role in innovation of public services, especially in financing and cost-sharing with other actors. This will ensure effective selection/targeting of schemes to finance.

Financing innovation is a crucial point as some industries are dependent on government budgets. For higher effectiveness, innovation in public service to meet demands will depend on informed decision making and capacity building efforts. Think tanks play significant role here. Case in point: Cuba has 100% population coverage but as an effect, they do not have resources to do further research and development.

Specifically for healthcare, innovation is required not only in service delivery but also in pharmaceutical advancements. Often the challenge is having to choose between cheap but ineffective drugs or effective high-priced ones.

Thinking Forward

  1. Innovation requires multi-disciplinary thinking not only to keep up with demands but also to advance societies. Finance and Budget aspects of innovation is one of the biggest challenge, not only in raising funds but also in prioritizing allocation. Case in point: Mexico.
  2. Innovation is not one-size-fit-all. Although there are similarities, every sector (i.e. education, health, social protection, welfare) will have distinct dynamics (i.e. actors, needs, obstacles).
  3. State government is a controlling actor throughout all aspects, but the key to innovation is to give sufficient freedom/space for other actors to innovate.
  4. Innovation is supported through: development of innovative capabilities (testing, challenging and exploring) as well as managing changes in society (leadership, innovation process, cultures, evaluation of output/outcome.

Contacts for further discussion:

Sulisia Erza MA Social & Global Justice (Nottingham) [email protected]
Maria Sokolova MSc International Strategy & Economics (St. Andrews) [email protected]
Julius Cheah Health System & Public Policy (Edinburgh) [email protected]
Rana Jarhum (York) [email protected]
Dharendra Wardhana MSc Economic Development and Policy Analysis (Nottingham) [email protected]
Priscilla Kosasih MPhil Perspective on Inclusion and Special Education (Cambridge) [email protected]
Luis Yahir Acosta (Queen Mary, London) [email protected]
Eric Ortega (LSE)
Alina Gainullina (MA Media and PR, Newcastle University) [email protected]


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Links from the Barcamp: “New media and social changes”

This links were shared by Alina Gainullina as part of her participation during the session (Picture by: Joyce Du)

http://www.thejc.com/news/world-special-reports/meet-david-saranga-man-whose-campaigns-are-rebranding-israel
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=168506
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1026633.html

Let’s keep in touch and share ideas :)

Best regards,
Alina Gainullina

MA Media and Public Relations
Newcastle University

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Barcamp: What sustainable development means, what can we do from our positions?

This report was sent by the session leader Hovhannes Stepanyan from Armenia, Cardiff University

The discussions started from the general principles of sustainable development, particularly dealing with its social, economic and environmental aspects. Considerable attention was paid to the Social and Corporate Responsibilities (SCR) of the companies and there were two basic views:

  1. SCR is  a mandatory for the company and in certain cases it is considered as an additional burden and expenses, which doesn’t contribute to the profit generation
  2. SCR is an aspect of the company’s marketability and being sustainable can lead towards more conscious usage of the scare resources and elimination of waste, which can increase the company’s profit, strengthen its reputation and improve operations in general.

It was also mentioned that nowadays the supply chains are being extended globally and this further enhances the need for environmentally conscious solutions. The sustainable development is the responsibility of today’s society in front of future generations and it should be enhanced by innovations and technological progress. This will enable to increase efficiency and eliminate waste, thus reaching to the sustainable development throughout the full cycle.

During the meeting the discussions were made more interesting through the criticism of various approaches and concepts, in particular a question was put on the table regarding to the point of “what will happen next if the resources are used and finished through all recycling processes?”

It was agreed that two major concepts of the sustainable development exist one of which is based on the consciousness of the individual human being, while the other sees its basic target the society and various sectors of the economy. In this framework it was noted that in many cases being “green” means being more profitable and socially responsible.

The overall trend of the discussion was that the vast majority of the participants agreed that sustainable development is an important topic, however enormous research and practical evidences are needed in order to obtain tangible results in this field.

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