History has repeatedly shown that young people can be a driving force for change. With this in mind, the Indonesian Youth Conference celebrated its second annual event in Jakarta last weekend, providing a platform for young minds to express their thoughts for the improvement of the country. This year’s event attracted more than double the number of participants at last year’s conference, with about 900 youths in attendance, compared to 400 last year. Rifat Najmi, one of the event’s organizers, said the conference was a success. Participants came not only from Jakarta, but cities across Indonesia, including Yogyakarta, Makassar and Balikpapan. With the slogan “The Future Starts Now,” the event featured inspirational speakers from a variety of backgrounds, including news anchor Najwa Shihab, visual artist Jay Subiakto, and Budi Soehardi, a former airline pilot who left behind his life in Singapore to build an orphanage in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara. “We basically wanted to inspire Indonesia’s young generation,” Rifat said, adding that the speakers offered to attend the conference free of charge. “The speakers came to the conference because they wanted to help the young generation make their dreams come true,” he said. A number of representatives from inspirational organizations also attended the event to showcase their programs, including speakers from Berbudaya Itu Seru (Being Cultured is So Much Fun), Indonesian Future Leaders and WiserEarth. Through the conference, Rifat and his team encouraged teenagers to join in seminar and discussion sessions, tackling issues close to their daily lives, their schools or the broader community. They hoped the event would bring young people from different backgrounds together to meet and make friends and also motivate young people to communicate their ideas and concerns through mass media. “From the beginning, we wanted to reach out to young Indonesians of all levels,” Rifat said. But promoting the event turned out to be hard work. In the end, he said, the team of 33 organizers relied on promotion through social media. He said most of the organization was done over the Internet, because most members of the team were still at school or university, making it difficult to find time to meet up. “We only met to finalize things or execute plans,” he said. But the biggest challenge, Rifat said, was convincing young people the conference was not just for bright or experienced teenagers, but for anyone interested in changing the nation for the better. Participant Vinessia William Putri, a student at Paramadina University, said she was excited to attend the event. With a list of many inspiring speakers, she said the event was both “exciting” and “informative.” “I came to this event because I believe modern young people can do something big when they unite,” she said. Aulia, a high school student, said she was enthusiastic about participating. “It feels so great to be surrounded by other positive-minded young Indonesians,” she said, adding that events like these should be held more often. Filmmaker Joko Anwar, who gave a lecture on “being creative in expressing aspirations,” was impressed by the motivated young people he met at the event. A few days after attending, he praised the conference via his Twitter account: “Indonesian Youth Conference is a melting pot for young people who are creative, smart and devoted to the country,” he wrote. Hendra, a university student, said the positive vibe of the event made him more optimistic about the future of the country. “With this kind of young generation, Indonesia could indeed be a great nation one day,” he said. Source : The Jakarta Globe posted in Good News From Indonesia by Raisa Nabila
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