UGM and Kagama organized an online sharing and discussion to welcome alumni in Great Britain on Saturday (13/2). This sharing discussion aims to get in touch and share ideas and thoughts regarding alumni's strategy in improving UGM as a world-class university. In addition to the UGM alumni invitation in the United Kingdom, an important person attended this event, namely Dr. Desra Percaya, as the Indonesian Ambassador to England.
I Wayan Gunawan, a UGM alumni representative in Great Britain, started the opening session with his story. He admitted that there had been no official forum for alumni so far, both for those who live and extend their education in the UK. It was only at the end of last year, one of the alumni had the initiative to create a group chat called 'Kagama UK'.
"At first, there were only students, but lately, the alumni who live in London also eventually joined the group. We currently have around 37 people joined. Still, our community has not been official because there has been no legalization like other communities, named as "UK KAGAMA"," he explained.
Apart from that, Wayan stated that he was highly enthusiastic about participating with Kagama. "From this sharing discussion, hopefully, it will be the beginning for us to be able to guyub rukun lan migunani (harmonize and beneficial) as KAGAMA's slogan during this time," he said.
UGM Chancellor, Prof. Ir. Panut Mulyono, M.Eng., D.Eng., IPU., ASEAN Eng., also welcomed this endeavor. He stated that the role of alumni was always essential as a way to improve UGM's reputation. Besides being a national dignity, it can also contain a haggling power when offering a collaboration to top universities or institutions in the international arena.
"The external agencies had built this reputation through ratings. The ranking assessments are conducted through several consideration points, one of which is through a survey and an assessment of the visibility of the alumni," he said.
Additionally, Panut also revealed that the alumni were also concerned and gave their contributions to the younger students studying at UGM. Through various activities and supports, they have contributed to forming UGM students' character.
"Hence, I hope that the diaspora, both who are living and studying in the United Kingdom, will remain to work together as well as contributing to the improvement of our nation. Learning from other developed countries which are greater, the diaspora has a very important role in studying, comprehending, and taking lessons from the domicile-country as a way for advancing their own hometown," he hoped.
Meanwhile, seeing the synergy between UGM and its alumni, Desra feels a bit envious. Although UGM alumni had been actively separated everywhere, they have never misremembered their alma mater. Furthermore, he revealed that even though he was not a UGM alumnus, his two children and siblings joined Kagama.
Besides, Desra admitted that so far, he felt comfortable when working together with UGM alumni anywhere. According to him, this was because of the soft power of UGM alumni, which made him not feel provoked or opposed. Still, he felt very welcomed when he worked with them.
Accordingly, Desra, as the representative of the Indonesian Embassy in London, will always support efforts to encourage fellowship with Indonesians domiciled in Great Britain, including Kagama, both from the diaspora as well as experts and researchers.
"We will kindly support and facilitate any activities that Kagama proposes. We are pretty sure that they must be held positive activity because they also have good intentions. This has been our duty," he said.
Ganjar Pranowo, as the Head of PP Kagama, also responded to Desra's statement. He explained that the basis of this KAGAMA, as the name implies, is family. Therefore, according to him, there will always be a happy and fun atmosphere built in this Kagama and still contributing to the nation.
"I once talked with alumni from other universities, and they asked 'How are the articles of association of Kagama to become so active?'. I answered that we have no articles of association. Those were only texts. It could not guarantee and activate us. My advice is, don't be stiff since we are family. The important thing is maintaining good relations and communication," he concluded.
Translator: Natasa A