Andi Alfian, an alumnus of the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies postgraduate program at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), has received the Indonesia Netherlands Thesis Prize 2023.
The award was presented by The Indonesia Nederland Society (INS) in collaboration with the Indonesian Student’s Association in the Netherlands, Nuffic Southeast Asia, and Garuda Indonesia on October 12, 2023.
Alfian explained that he was selected for the award after competing with 39 thesis candidates from various universities in the Netherlands and Indonesia.
Five of the best theses were selected among those submitted, written by Ana Viola Epping (Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands), Sabrina Farah Salsabilla (IHE Delft, Netherlands), Laksmita Hestirani (University of Indonesia), Steve Ariel Harutogu (University of Indonesia), and Andi Alfian (Universitas Gadjah Mada).
The selection process was conducted by a jury consisting of experts from the Netherlands and Indonesia, including Professor Diana Suhardiman (KITLV, Leiden University), Professor Bambang Hari Wibisono (Universitas Gadjah Mada), Martin Drenth (University of Groningen), Indy Hardono (Nuffic Southeast Asia), and Dr. Isti Hidayati (Universitas Gadjah Mada).
“Of course, I’m very proud after going through two rigorous selection stages to finally be selected as the winner of the Indonesia Netherlands Thesis Prize 2023,” said the founder of Sekolah Anak Muda (Young Leaders School) on Tuesday, October 17.
Alfian received the Indonesia Netherlands Thesis Prize 2023 for his thesis titled “Eco-relational Citizenship: Perspectives from Bara and Cindakko Indigenous Communities of Sulawesi, Indonesia.”
As the award winner, Alfian was allowed to present his thesis at several campuses in the Netherlands.
Alfian’s thesis examined the indigenous knowledge of the Bara and Cindakko communities in South Sulawesi through ethnographic research.
His research produced knowledge related to the concept of eco-relational citizenship, emphasizing the inseparable relationship between indigenous community citizenship (socio-political) and the environment they inhabit (ecological-religious).
Through the concept of eco-relational citizenship, Alfian proposed an effort to overcome the dualistic, hierarchical, and anthropocentric tendencies that separate humans from non-humans, common in the practices and discourse of democracy and the environment.
“The concept of eco-relational citizenship from the indigenous knowledge of Bara and Cindakko can address this separation and promote a more just, inclusive, and sustainable citizenship,” explained Alfian, who graduated from UGM on July 31, 2023.
Moreover, his thesis also offers voluntarism as an alternative approach or strategy for developing indigenous community citizenship or eco-relational citizenship.
This can accommodate indigenous knowledge in development practices without stripping indigenous communities of the context of their assets.
Photo: Andi Alfian