News Focus - UGM and Jokowi`s messages for Indonesians by Rahmad Nasution

News Focus - UGM and Jokowi`s messages for Indonesians  by Rahmad Nasution

Elek Yo Band performs before President Joko Widodo (third from left on the monitor, industry minister Airlangga Hartarto (second from left) and general chairman of Gajahmada Alumni Association (Kagama) at a reunion event in Jakarta on Saturday (22/9/2018). ANTARA FOTO/Dhemas Reviyanto/foc.

Bogor, W Java,  (ANTARA News) - The Gadjah Mada University (UGM) Alumni Family (Kagama) held a gathering in Jakarta on Saturday with a message that seemed to be relevant to what President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has repeatedly echoed to the people of this country.

However, the gathering, taking place a day after the General Election Commission (KPU) set a draw of numbers on ballots for the two pairs of Indonesia`s presidential and vice presidential candidates, has nothing to do with the 2019 Presidential Election.

Instead, the Kagama`s gathering is actually a regular calendar of event for the organization despite the fact that there are lots of UGM alumni who will contest in both the 2019 parliamentarian and presidential elections.

As one of reputable and leading universities in Indonesia, UGM is influential thanks to its graduates who have important positions inside and outside the government. Even the top leader of this country and several key cabinet members are its graduates.

Among them are Jokowi, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono,State Secretary Pratikno, and Research, Technology, and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir.

This Yogyakarta-based public university has remained in the top 10 list of Indonesia`s leading universities over the past few decades.

According to the Research, Technology, and Higher Education Ministry`s website (, UGM now ranks third on the top 10 list of universities with excellent achievements in Scopus-indexed scientific publications.

UGM is just left behind by the University of Indonesia and Bandung Institute of Technology, but its rank is better than that of Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), University of North Sumatra (USU), and the ranks of five other leading universities.

Considering its reputation as a research-based university with a huge number of graduates, where many of them are currently holding strategic positions in the government, the Kagama`s gathering cannot be observed as a meaningless event.

Wearing a brown Batik dress along with a red jacket, Jokowi, who had officially drawn number one on ballots for the 2019 Presidential Election, joined the gathering held at the Jakarta Convention Center.

The head of state belongs to the Kagama membership, as he had obtained his undergraduate degree from the university`s Faculty of Forestry tens of years ago.

His arrival was followed by several cabinet members, including Basuki Hadimuljono, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy, Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto, and Pratikno.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, UGM Rector Panut Mulyono, Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo, and Chief of the Constitutional Court Anwar Usman were also present.

The presence of all these figures has proven the importance of UGM in the country`s key institutions. Apart from this, what is more significant for the Indonesian public is the message delivered by the UGM rector and the Kagama leader.

In his speech, UGM Rector Panut Mulyono urged members of the Kagama to play an active role in preserving the nation`s unity in diversity.

"Leaders and members of the Gadjah Mada University Alumni Family (Kagama) should always prioritize the values of UGM and nationhood," he informed the UGM graduates attending the Kagama gathering.

The Kagama leaders and members should also preserve the dignity of UGM as a "national university," "university of struggle," "Pancasila-oriented university," "people`s university," and "university of cultural center."

Kagama General Chairman Ganjar Pranowo also echoed the same message at the event highlighting the theme of "Guyub Rukun Kini and Nanti" or Togetherness, Peace, Now and Then."

Ganjar Pranowo, who is also Central Java Governor, called on the Kagama members to become the pioneers in preserving the values of nationhood.

Chairman of the Kagama Gathering Organizing Committee, Otto Hasibuan, shared the views of the rector and Pranowo, emphasizing that the presence of the UGM alumni within and outside the country can help strengthen the nation`s unity in diversity.

The messages that Panut Mulyono, Ganjar Pranowo, and Otto Hasibuan echoed at the gathering are relevant to what Jokowi has repeatedly conveyed at various occasions.

When speaking to journalists at the Mbah Jingkrak Restaurant in the Setiabudi area of South Jakarta on Friday, for instance, Jokowi reiterated the importance of maintaining unity despite the people`s different political preferences in the upcoming elections.

The head of state noted that the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections were actually a fiesta of democracy.

"Thus, first things first, the fiesta of democracy should not divide our people, in which scenario, the residents of villages are not on talking terms with one another. Those sharing a good friendship fail to reunite," Jokowi cautioned.

He noted that he no longer wanted to witness disunity among Indonesian people, who are citizens of one nation living on an integrated motherland. "This must not happen to us," Jokowi, who has decided to compete at next year`s presidential race, pointed out.

Reporting by Rahmad Nasution
Editing by Rahmad Nasution