Celebrating Cross-Cultural Collaborations in Education

Singapore International Foundation (SIF), Indonesia Bright Foundation (IBF) and Indonesian Professionals’ Association (IPA) commemorate the success of their collaboration in education with a sharing session by IBF scholars and recommitting to a new two-year partnership.

“The inaugural study visit to Singapore organised by SIF, IBF and IPA for IBF recipients like myself paved the way for me to connect with Singaporean social entrepreneurs and educators. This has in turn, inspired me in my own social entrepreneurship journey to do good. When I returned to Jakarta, my friends and I started Audio Visual to Elevate Society – a social enterprise that provides Indonesian elementary school students with alternative learning tools in the form of fun, interactive and animated videos,” said Universitas Indonesia undergraduate student Muhammad Zalaluddin Sofan, or Jalal, at the sharing session during SIF Connects! Jakarta – a platform for SIF to reconnect with programme alumni and Friends of Singapore (FOS).

Held on 28 May 2016, SIF Connects! Jakarta brought together Singaporean and Indonesian communities to celebrate the transgenerational good that could be achieved through cross-cultural collaborations in education. The journey which started in the 1990s with the SIF-ASEAN Fellowship, continued on through SIF’s ongoing collaboration with the Indonesia Bright Foundation (IBF) and Indonesian Professionals’ Association (IPA), and inspired the birth of a new education initiative to benefit the next generation of Indonesian youths.

The renewal in the collaboration in education between SIF, IBF and IPA for another two-year term from 28 May 2016 was signed by IPA President I Komang Narendra (second from left), SIF Executive Director Jean Tan (centre) and IBF Chairman Ibrahim Senen (second from right). The signing ceremony was witnessed by SIF Chairman, Ambassador Ong Keng Yong (far left) and Singapore Ambassador to Indonesia Anil Kumar Nayar (far right).

Jalal is one of the four IBF scholars who participated in a week-long study visit to Singapore in December 2015. He is one of 82 bright but financially-challenged Indonesian youths supported by the IBF. Set up by 135 Indonesian SIF-ASEAN Fellows who were inspired by their educational and cultural immersion experience in Singapore some 20 years ago, the Fellows set up IBF to do their bit to pay it forward and nurture promising Indonesian students.

IBF Chairman and Indonesian SIF-ASEAN Fellow Ibrahim Senen said, “At the IBF, we embrace the importance of giving back to the society through educational support. The drive behind IBF collaborating with SIF and IPA is to broaden the horizons of our beneficiaries and provide them the same opportunities in acquiring cross-cultural experiences, international exposure and networks, as well as a better understanding and appreciation of Singapore.”

During the visit, Jalal and the scholars had the opportunity to network with Indonesians studying and working in Singapore; learn about Singapore’s strategies for social innovation, culture and urban development; and visited SG50-themed exhibits such as the Future of Us and Singapore: Inside Out in commemoration of Singapore’s 50th anniversary.

Moving forward, the three organisations will continue to work together to nurture a new generation of friends and future leaders from Indonesia. The renewed collaboration over the next two years will also see a more substantive and comprehensive study visit to Singapore being designed for the IBF scholars, and mentoring of the IBF beneficiaries in Indonesia. The SIF-IBF-IPA collaboration in education demonstrates how networks can be harnessed to inspire actions for good, bringing Singaporeans and Indonesians together to share knowledge and resources while strengthening the enduring friendships nurtured over the years.

Singaporean and Indonesian communities celebrating the enduring friendships that form the rich tapestry of relations at the people-to-people level, nurtured through SIF programmes in Indonesia since 1992. Muhammad Zalaluddin Sofan or Jalal (bottom right) was one of the four IBF scholars who shared their insights on the inaugural SIF-IBF-IPA study visit to Singapore in December 2015.

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