By Catherine Setiawan
In this article, Catherine Setiawan, also part of the alumni cohort of CAUSINDY 2018, shares Noudhy Valdryno’s story.
I first met Noudhy ‘Ryno’ Valdryno at CAUSINDY 2018 in Makassar. Ryno tells me that he always had a deep interest in Australia even before finishing his undergraduate degree in Melbourne. He now holds a Bachelor of Political Science and Sociology from the University of Melbourne and a Master in Public Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.
Australia and Indonesia are both very close to Ryno’s heart. He believes the two countries have the potential to build a great alliance and be a positive force in the region. He is also a close watcher of the two countries’ politics and has been involved in the political discussion. A few years ago while building his career within a political party in Indonesia, he also founded a movement to support a candidate in Australia’s Federal election.
Currently, he is the Politics and Government Outreach Associate Manager, Asia Pacific, at Facebook. As a member of this team, he is responsible for multiple countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. His responsibility is to maintain positive engagement between Facebook and key stakeholders, as well as fostering new partnerships and collaborations throughout the region. Previously, Ryno has worked as policy analyst, researcher and digital media strategist. He led numerous digital campaign teams during his tenure as political campaigner at regional and national level elections. He also worked with candidates for the 2014 Indonesian Presidential election and 2017 DKI Jakarta Gubernatorial election. Concurrently, he also worked with regional-level consultancy firms and government institutions specializing in parliamentary updates, government relations and policy analysis.
His experiences in the political arena have made him very critical in observing Australia and Indonesia’s political relationship. For Ryno, although Australia and Indonesia are close neighboring countries, both countries rarely listen to each other. This is a key reason why Ryno thinks CAUSINDY is a unique and productive platform to deepen and increase understanding between Australia and Indonesia’s future leaders. He believes that trust between these two countries must start at a very young age. He also mentioned that CAUSINDY is also unique because of the highly diverse profile of candidates and committees, which provides more opportunity for delegates to learn from each other’s culture.
Ryno remains in contact with many fellow delegates, with whom he constantly has discussions on topics related to Australia and Indonesia, especially the political relationship. One of his most memorable CAUSINDY experiences was when he personally asked an Australian delegate their views about unstable leadership in Australia – something he would not have achieved if not for CAUSINDY.
Ryno is very optimistic that Australia-Indonesia relations will grow stronger into the future. Remembering the shift of global economic development to the Asia-Pacific, strengthening bilateral relations between Australia and Indonesia, especially on the issue of trade, needs to be given extra attention. Therefore, increasing the understanding between both countries’ leaders is more important than ever. According to Ryno, at present the two countries still have a strong sense of individualism, and this attribute needs to be changed. It is time for both countries to strengthen its collective effort to act together as a positive force for the region. Aside from political and economic issues, he also wishes that more Australians would come to Indonesia.
Personally, Ryno aspires to return to his hometown of Bogor and run for mayor. He thinks that helping the development of his hometown is a way to give back to society. As for his longer-term vision, he has a dream to build a foundation for talented and gifted students who are not able to afford quality education.
Ryno encourages all CAUSINDY alumni to apply for this year’s alumni gathering in Darwin, Australia. According to him, meeting delegates from different years has always been a valuable opportunity. CAUSINDY’s alumni pool is full of very established and distinguished individuals in their respective sectors, so being able to meet these wonderful people would be once in a lifetime experience. This is also a good opportunity for delegates to dive deep into the key issues in the Australia-Indonesia relationship.
Ryno said he highly enjoyed the conference and was impressed by the quality of delegates who attended, and values his participation at CAUSINDY very highly.