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Indonesia National Chapter Launched

August 07, 2018

The OWSD Indonesia National Chapter kicks off with an inauguration and 1st Congress.

On 19 July 2018, the Indonesia National Chapter of OWSD was formally inaugurated at the Sheraton Hotel & Tower in Surabaya in conjunction with the 1st Congress of the new National Chapter. The event was attended by 100 selected participants from 14 different provinces of Indonesia, together with individual participants from Sudan and Vietnam. The participants included women entrepreneurs in addition to researchers, lecturers, and students.

The inauguration kicked off with an address by the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), Prof. Agus Rubiyanto. The National Chapter President Dr. Sri Fatmawati then presented OWSD and introduced the logo of the Indonesia National Chapter.

The logo is inspired by batik, an important part of Indonesia's cultural heritage. The five main parts of the logo represent the aspects of the lotus, light, the 'Garuda' (peacock) wing, women, and science.

Explains Sri Fatmawati, "The lotus or Seroja in Bahasa Indonesia is a symbol of flowers with a strong root, which symbolizes the sanctity of women as a strong root for the family and the next generation of the nation. Light as a light of goodness for the surroundings. The wings of the Garuda bird represent the symbol of the Indonesian state, the Garuda Pancasila; we hope that the OWSD Indonesia National Chapter can unite the nation, with the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika - Unity in Diversity - and can contribute to protecting the nation with freedom and wisdom. The peacock wing symbolizes the sublimity of Indonesian culture, the beauty, the privilege and the fortune. The women who carry the atom denote Indonesian women's contributions to science. Overall, the OWSD Indonesia National Chapter logo symbolizes our hope, that the National Chapter can inspire Indonesian women to excel in science, as well as to become reinforcers of the family and of national unification. Thus, with their powerful wings, Indonesian women are able to sail and emit their light around the globe."

The morning ceremony concluded with a gong ringing by the Dean of Faculty of Natural Sciences of ITS.

The 1st Congress continued in the afternoon with addresses from two keynote speakers. The first speaker was Prof. Muhammad Rizal Martua Damanik, Deputy of Research and Development of National Population and the Family Planning Board of Indonesia. The OWSD Indonesia National Chapter has identified a need to map demographic and sociological needs, based on Indonesian statistical data collected by this department, in order to target their activities in certain areas. The Deputy of the Board's participation as keynote speaker signified a strong spirit of collaboration with the National Chapter. Prof. Damanik spoke about the urgent need for research in the programme area of Women's Empowerment; the establishment of the OWSD Indonesia National Chapter is expected to promote these objectives, particularly in the education of women in rural areas.

The second speaker was Dr. Tri Rismaharini, mayor of Surabaya, who has received multiple honors for her leadership. The mayor expressed the deep commitment of the Surabaya city government to the empowerment of women. This is evidenced by the city's Economic Hero programme to empower housewives through the production of home based products; the programme provides training and support for the women in all aspects of production, ranging from branding to packaging to managing products.

The event continued with a panel on the theme of "the Journey of Women Scientists." Nusiba Mohammed Modawe, an OWSD fellow from Sudan, anchored the panel discussion with a presentation on "Women Scientists' Role in Education and Leadership." Making up the rest of the panel were the past Awardees of the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early Career Women Scientists: Dr. Leni Ritmaleni; Dr. Sri Fatmawati; Dr. Felycia Edi Soetardjo; and Dr. Witri Wahyu Lestari.

The panel was followed by a session on OWSD membership and an online registration demonstration. Sri Fatmawati, the National Chapter president, then led a discussion about the strategic plans for the Indonesia National Chapter, including how to assess potential contributions from participants. Participants were also asked to suggest ideas for activities to empower their local communities using science and technology. The group also discussed potential challenges; with more than 13,000 islands, 3 different time zones, and a large east-west span, geography is expected to be an obstacle in organizing cohesive National Chapter activities and meetings. 

The 1st Congress concluded with a gala dinner followed by a night tour of Surabaya city and river cruise on the Kalimas river, organized by the mayor of Surabaya as a tribute to OWSD participants. 

OWSD Indonesia National Chapter President Sri Fatmawati called the launch and 1st Congress a great success, and expressed the Chapter's eagerness to finalize its strategic plan and to begin collaborating with other OWSD National Chapters internationally.