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Mar 11, 2011

Graduation Speech by my husband

Thank you so much; it is really a tremendous honor for me to stand before you, all the distinguished ladies and gentlemen. Allow me to extend my warm greeting to the rector council, professors and all faculty members of WU, His excellency Indonesian ambassador to Austria, family, friends, guests, and of course the very reason of our presence today: the fellow doctoral graduates of March 2011.

Dear my fellow graduates,
I know we are here to celebrate our achievement for our doctoral degree, but let’s take a moment for a while to thank the unspoken heroes of today: our families, parents, husband or wife, brothers or sisters. These are the people who always believe in us, people who are willing to listen to all our problems, our complaints and difficulties. These people are our family whose love and care always encourage us in each and every day. I believe today is not only our own day. This day is theirs too…

So let’s give our warm applause to all of our families.
Unfortunately, my parents aren’t able to come here, as for myself, the journey for being here is much more than taking 10.000 kilometers flight across three great oceans. I remember 3.5 years ago, when I stepped in to this building, I was haunted with deep anxiety and uncertainty. I knew that I have to cope with different languages, different food, different people with different values and different way of thinking. At that time, I wasn’t sure if I could survive another 3 or 4 years to come to finish my PhD.

But today, I must appreciate the tireless effort from all employees and faculty members at WU who helped me throughout the difficult process. Thanks to the commitment from the rector council for increasing the internationality of this university. The number of international students, international partners, and international faculty members are increasing year by year. The ratio of the international faculty will reach to 30 %, and the number of international students has passed to a quarter, which means that every fourth student you meet here is from abroad.

During my study here, I also witness a great transformation of this university. This institution has transformed from a Viennese college of economic and business administration, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, into a World-class University, abbreviated as W-U.

So I think we are here today, not only to celebrate our achievement for winning a PhD, but also to sustain an example of the possible success of world class school which holds the spirit of professionalism and equality. Here, we’re showing to break free the tiring debate about race, religion, ethnicity and gender that dominates our politics and newspaper in the last decade.
I’m coming from a third world country called Indonesia. I was born in a very small village, which was no electricity and running clean water; more than half of the people in the village earn less than 1 euro per day. My parents are only medium class civil servants, who never even dared to dream sending their son to study abroad. It’s finally Professor Wolfgang Obenaus who convinced me to come to this prestigious university, in the heart of Europe, using the scholarship from the Austrian government for third world countries.

I am also glad that finally I am allowed to wear ‘Batik’, our traditional clothes today, as I always believe that the graduation committee will embrace diversity. Because they also hold the value of our university, that the single most important factor determining people achievement is not the color of their skin, the religion of their life, it is not who their parents are, or how much money they have. I believe the promise of the education system here. No matter how we look like, whatever our nationality is, or our religion, each of us, should have the chance to achieve our dream, to enjoy the same opportunity.

Dear fellow graduates,
We know that we’re living in a global era. It’s the time where people in Vienna are also competing with people in Shanghai or Mumbai, India. Jobs can be located anywhere in this planet. It’s finally our skill and knowledge that become our global passport. The most valuable things you can sell are skill and knowledge.

Living in this globalization era should make us aware that we are breathing in the same global village. In this village, every belief and value can be found. Insignificant differences can spark into conflict, chaos even war. But I’m sure that everybody in this room won’t let this happen. Because, despite these differences, we share the same hope, same belief that we are connected together as brother and sister from the past.

Driven by this belief, I am also calling on you to be an agent of transformation, who always seeks to make this world a better place to live, a safer place for diversity; as being shown by the great transformation of this university.
Within these few weeks I am flying back to Indonesia…

I’m a Moslem and I will speak loud and clear to the people in my country that I am proud to be part of this great European education institution; where I do not learn about business and economics only, but also about tolerance and respecting each other.

Sooner or later you will also make your own journey. For some of you, the journey ahead will not be easy. But the truth is that none of us knows how the future will look like. What I can tell you for sure is that the future is not someplace we will discover, but rather something we will create.

I believe that we can survive anywhere in this world, because we are the graduates of WU. We were trained with high international standard, by global-minded faculties which hold the spirit of professionalism and tolerance.

Today, we are all proud to receive our doctorate certificate, a reward for our effort that we will treasure for the rest of our life.
But as a famous saying says: the greatest treasures are not those visible to the eye but found by the heart. Knowledge and happiness are the true treasure for a wise man; indeed, tolerance is the real treasure for humanity.

It is my sincere hope that your next journey will take you to the summit of your hope, to the highest peak of your happiness, to the ultimate blessing for humanity.

Again congratulation, have a pleasant journey, and may God always be with us
Thank you.

Vienna, 11th March 2011
Rangga Almahendra

Mar 6, 2011

Pemilu Tertib ala Austria

Laporan dari Austria

Wina - Musim kampanye di Austria boleh jadi tidak semeriah di Indonesia. Jangan bayangkan anda bisa melihat arak-arakan konvoi kendaraan bermotor,  perang spanduk di tiang listrik dan pohon pohon, atau rapat umum dengan hiburan musik dangdut. Musim pemilu di Austria jauh dari hingar bingar itu.

Poster atau atribut kampanye hanya boleh ditempel di tempat tertentu, itupun bentuk dan ukurannya dibuat seragam sesuai aturan. Di beberapa lokasi keramaian juga terdapat stand-stand partai yang membagikan balon, souvenir sederhana seperti gantungan kunci atau alat tulis. Uniknya, barang yang dibagikan dari berbagai  stand partai politik itu kurang lebih sama.  Yang membedakan hanya warna identitas partai dan tentunya brosur program yang ditawarkan. Kira-kira demikianlah atmosfer yang tercipta saat Austria menghelat pemilu-nya September tahun lalu.

Program dan platform partai-partai di Austria memang dapat dibedakan dengan mudah. Misal Sosial Demokrat Austria (SPO, Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs) dikenal sebagai partai kiri dengan program populis untuk warga golongan menengah kebawah. Sementara partai konservatif kanan OVP (Österreichische Volkspartei) lebih populer bagi kalangan kaum pengusaha dan karyawan dengan kebijakan kebijakan ekonominya yang liberal. Nah untuk warga yang sangat peduli dengan isu lingkungan bisa menyalurkan aspirasinya melalui Partai Hijau (Die Grünen).

Dalam kampanyenya, partai juga diperbolehkan untuk saling mempertentangkan
kebijakan antar partai terhadap suatu isu tertentu. Selama masih dalam koridor etika dan bertujuan untuk pendidikan politik, bentuk attacking campaign seperti ini dianggap sah-sah saja.  Janji-janji kampanye yang diumbarpun jauh dari kesan normatif. Seperti partai SPO yang menjanjikan pendidikan gratis, atau partai nasionalis ultra kanan FPO (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs) yang berani terang-terangan menolak integrasi Uni Eropa dan membatasi penyebaran agama Islam di Austria.

Detikcom mendapat undangan dari parlemen Austria untuk meliput jalannya pesta demokrasi di negara kecil eropa ini. Saat mengunjungi persiapan salah satu TPS untuk distrik 1 di bilangan Ringstrasse, detikcom dipandu oleh petugas KPPS yang menjelaskan proses proses pencoblosan. "Kami telah mengirim surat jauh hari sebelumnya, dan warga diminta datang sesuai waktu yang tertera di undangan," ungkap Hendrik Schmidt petugas yang mendampingi kami.

"Bagi yang berhalangan bisa mengirimkan suaranya melalui pos," tambahnya.

Tidak mungkin ada manipulasi daftar pemilih tetap atau pemilih ganda, karena daftar pemilih terintegrasi dengan data kependudukan dari kementerian dalam negeri (Bundesministerium für Inneres)

Kertas suaranya pun mirip dengan di Indonesia, dibuat seukuran koran yang memuat tanda gambar partai dan nama calon anggota legislatif. "Kertas suara untuk tuna netra dibuat khusus, dan kami juga menyediakan bilik suara untuk penyandang cacat," jelas Hendrik.

Karena kondisi geografis Austria yang berupa dataran saja dan hanya berpenduduk 8 juta jiwa, hasil pemilu bisa langsung diketahui hari itu juga. Tepat pukul 6 sore, seluruh ketua partai berkumpul di gedung parlemen untuk memberikan pernyataan pers bersama dan saling memberi ucapan selamat kepada peraih suara terbanyak.

Tak ada pertentangan, ataupun sengketa pasca Pemilu. Meski demikian, tetap terasa dinamika saat hasil Pemilu diumumkan. Ada yang kecewa dan gembira.

Namun publik tahu, tak perlu saling serang atas hasil Pemilu, karena semua dijalankan dengan asas kompetisi politik yang sehat. Untuk pemilu terakhir ini, kembali Partai Sosial Demokrat, SPO, memenangkan 57 kursi dari 183 kursi yang diperebutkan, atau sekitar 29,3 persen suara dan diikuti partai OVP dengan 26 persen suara. Dengan hasil ini, pimpinan Partai SPO, Werner Faymann, berhak menduduki posisi kanselir, sebagai kepala pemerintahan setingkat perdana menteri di Austria.

Dan sesuai janjinya selama kampanye, hanya berselang 2 bulan setelah Faymann disumpah, pemerintah Austria pada Februari lalu baru saja mengeluarkan kebijakan baru untuk mengratiskan pendidikan dasar dari mulai tingkat taman kanak-kanak. Agaknya, politisi Austria tak sekedar tebar janji kampanye. Tak perlu juga embel embel kontrak politik agar publik mempercayainya.

Mungkinkah politisi Tanah Air mencuplik karakter politisi Austria untuk pendidikan politik Indonesia yang lebih baik? Kita lihat saja pesta demokrasi Indonesia yang segera digelar nanti.

(gah/gah)