Australia Awards in Indonesia

The Australia Awards are prestigious, transformational scholarships and short courses offered to emerging leaders for study, research and professional development in Australia

29 Apr 2016

Indonesia’s Financial Inclusion Roadmap Guides the Way Forward

Klaten-born Retno Maruti became the first person in her village in Central Java to earn a Master’s degree overseas. Her proud parents gave a huge bash to celebrate her accomplishment.

But her accomplishments were only just beginning.After Retno graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Master’s degree in Applied Economics in 2013, she started working for Indonesia’s Finance Ministry in its division for liaising with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

This year she was selected as one of Indonesia’s representatives at the prestigious Lead Asia Pacific Program (LAP) at an event in Kuala Lumpur. LAP is organized by Canberra-based Asia Pacific Youth Organization. It is a three-stage program with an emphasis on economic and foreign policy that is designed to connect promising young leaders, such as Retno, in the Asia-Pacific region.

Through her involvement in LAP, Retno has gained a wide range of practical experience on regional issues related to politics and social affairs. “It’s been a rewarding to be part of LAP. I had the chance to listen to top-notch speakers on issues that I was not familiar with such as the South China Sea dispute and many other issues,” said the 32-year-old Retno.

The informal sessions at LAP boosted her network too. “I met a lot of interesting people from the region.”

As a LAP delegate, Retno returned Kuala Lumpur in November 2015 to present her ideas at the East Asia Summit. The East Asia Summit brought together representatives from the 10 ASEAN nations as well as Australia, the United States, China, South Korea, India and Japan.

Asked about her time in Adelaide, Retno said completing her Master’s degree was a “life-changing experience. Living abroad had a huge impact on me. I became more mature in my thinking and my studies while there. It prepared me to be a skilled professional in my field,” Retno said. “We don’t just think domestically anymore, we think globally.”

In April this year, Retno was promoted to head up the financial and non-financial program as part of OECD division. She is producing policy analysis and a country strategy for Indonesia’s diplomatic position. She has also received audit surveillance training at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.

Her Master’s degree equipped her to produce policy recommendations to Indonesia’s Finance Ministry. Retno contributed her work to the representatives of Indonesia on G20 Infrastructure and Investment Working Group in Jakarta, and represented the country at the OECD in Paris earlier this year.

Retno returned to Australia in October, 2015. This time she won a short-term award for a course on Strengthening the Public Policy Making Process at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. The course was designed for emerging leaders in Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance.

“I was very excited to start the course because it was intended for government employees like myself. In the past, my background revolved around policy recommendation. At this short course we learned how to take an evidence-based approach in formulating policy, which I had never done in the past,” said Retno.

Retno aspires “to contribute my expertise in decision making while representing Indonesia in a way that will have a global impact. Hopefully, I will achieve this in the future.”

Her opinion pieces have been published in Indonesia’s national English language daily newspaper, The Jakarta Post. She published ‘Making Use of Infrastructure Institutions’ in 2015, and ‘Should We Add More Debt?’ in 2014.

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