27 April 2019
The Australian Embassy held its annual Australian Alumni Gala Dinner on Saturday 27 April to “welcome home” over 800 alumni from across Indonesia who have recently returned from studies in Australia and recognise those alumni who have achieved success.
The partnership between Australia and Indonesia goes back to Indonesia’s independence and the two countries remain close partners today.
Australia is the most popular overseas study destination for Indonesian students, with about 20,000 enrolments each year. Alumni play a crucial role in deepening cooperation between the two nations in building and supporting business, security and prosperity. The Gala Dinner celebrates the successes of Australian alumni and Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Gary Quinlan, announced the 2019 Alumni Award winners.
“Australia and Indonesia live next door to each other and are in the same neighbourhood,” he said. This year marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Indonesia but Australia strongly supported Indonesia before then, representing Indonesia at President Sukarno’s request in UN negotiations leading to formal independence.
“The Australian education scholarships program for Indonesia began in 1953 and educational links have been a formative part of our relationships from the beginning. The winners of tonight’s awards are four extraordinary individuals who have played an important role strengthening this relationship and enhancing the prosperity of Indonesia.”
Winner of 2019 Alumni of the Year - Ms Noni Purnomo of Bluebird Group, a University of Newcastle alumni. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award was given to Mr Irfan Amalee who participated in both an Australian Government counter terrorism short term award and the Australia Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program. Queensland University of Technology alumni, Mr Rorian Pratyaksa, won the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. The Promoting Women’s Empowerment Award went to Ms Nilamsari Sahadewa, an alumni of Griffith University and founder of Kebab Turki Baba Rafi – arguably the biggest kebab chain in the world.
The keynote address was from Australian Alumni Mr Iwan Sunito, co-founder and CEO Development of Crown Group and University of NSW alumni, who shared his story from his humble beginnings in Pangkalan Bun, Kalimantan, to becoming an international property magnate.
The night wouldn’t have been a success without support and donations from Australian alumni businesses H&CO; Nola Marta; Uwerans; Ienmangination's Jewelry; Castalie; AMAZARA; Oh MA Grain, DAV Foods; Marici; and Ecolodges Indonesia; and QANTAS and Meat and Livestock Australia.
Talented Australian alumni make significant contributions to their organisations, communities and country and serve as inspiration for other Australian alumni into the future.
2019 Alumni Award winners
Winner of 2019 Alumni of the Year - Ms Noni Purnomo of Bluebird Group, a University of Newcastle alumni. She is known for her savvy business acumen. However she is also an avid philanthropist and provides small loans and training for business start-ups, scholarships for children, and personally supports over 100 children. She is also a founding member of Angel Investment - empowering women entrepreneurs through investment, mentoring, and creating networking opportunities. Ms Purnomo also serves on several national and international boards including the Australia Indonesia Institute.
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award was given to Mr Irfan Amalee who participated in both an Australian Government counter terrorism short term award and the Australia Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program – an intensive two-week visit of cultural, social, interreligious, and intellectual exchange. Amalee is the Founder and Director of Peace Generation Indonesia. Peace Generation mixes creative education materials (books, board games, and video) with social work to promote tolerance and prevent radicalisation amongst Indonesian youth.
Queensland University of Technology alumni, Mr Rorian Pratyaksa, won the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. He co-founded both PayAccess - a mobile payment start-up focusing on developing accessible, scalable and seamless cashless ecosystems; and Woobiz - a micro-entrepreneurship empowerment platform, innovating on sales and distribution services in Indonesia. And he isn’t even 30 years old yet!
The Promoting Women’s Empowerment Award went to Ms Nilamsari Sahadewa, an alumni of Griffith University and founder of Kebab Turki Baba Rafi – arguably the biggest kebab chain in the world. She is involved in many human development initiatives such as: business mentoring; an academy which targets lower income individuals and gives them kitchen skills for free; and has worked with Government and communities to deliver training to more than 100,000 people. Most notably though, is her work with the Womenpreneur community.