Women and young political and civil society activists from four Indonesian provinces recently came together for a national conference conducted by IRI.  The Generation Next: Women and Youth Leadership Development Conference in Jakarta brought together participants from Bali, East Java, Maluku and Yogyakarta provinces to discuss the emerging role of women and youth as agents of social change.  Participants represented the major political parties with seats in each provincial parliament, as well as academic institutions, local media, environmental organizations, religious associations, human rights groups and student unions.

A capstone event for IRI’s 2010 Developing Future Leaders program in Indonesia, the conference was a forum for future women and youth leaders from across the country to get together and share their own best practices for political and civil society.  Over two days, participants met to showcase advocacy programs and work plans, share their own leadership experiences and discuss challenges to youth and women political participation and empowerment in their provinces.

The conference featured Ms. Vani Tripathi, National Secretary of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), India’s major opposition party, who led a discussion of the values of leadership by making comparisons to existing women and youth political and civil society leadership in India.  Commenting on the event Tripathi stated, “I was amazed by the high level of energy and enthusiasm these impressive women and youth leaders brought to the conference.” 

Tripathi added, “IRI’s work preparing the next generation of leaders in Indonesia is extremely valuable, and it is a great honor and privilege for me, as a representative of BJP, to be involved as a partner with IRI in these empowerment efforts.”

Other speakers at the conference included National Senator Elnino M. Husein; Member of Parliament Ms. Hetifah Siswanda; Bima Arya Sugiarto, the Political and Communications Chair for the National Mandate Party; and women’s activist and former Member of Parliament Lena Maryana.

With funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, IRI has conducted a series of workshops for women and youth activists over the past six months.  In addition to strengthening the leadership and advocacy skills of participating individuals and organizations, a major success of the program has been its ability to bring representatives from political institutions and civil society together into a common forum.

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