WASHINGTON, DC, January 7, 2013—The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has renewed and expanded its Program to Extend Scholarships & Training to Achieve Sustainable Impacts (PRESTASI) to provide a diverse network of young professionals with access to higher education and training. The five-year PRESTASI II award will enable the Indonesia International Education Foundation (IIEF), as the prime contractor, and the Institute of International Education (IIE) as the subcontractor, to continue and enhance the activities they have conducted since 2011 under the first PRESTASI award. By coupling academic training with experiential learning, PRESTASI II seeks to further strengthen the network of young professionals who will be able to lead in the development of Indonesia’s public and private sectors.
PRESTASI II focuses on five fields, including democracy and governance, economic growth, education, environment, and health, which have been specifically targeted to further democracy, reduce poverty, and address the challenges posed by globalization. With the fourth largest population in the world and a GDP growth rate of 6.4%, making it South Asia’s fastest growing economy, Indonesia is challenged to engage and support dedicated young professionals who will be able to lead in many political, economic, and social fields.
USAID created PRESTASI to help Indonesia build the human capacity that will be required to maintain and sustain its robust economy and continue to strengthen its institutions of democracy in the wake of political instability. In order to promote the transfer of skills and knowledge across the broader Indonesian work force, the program offers young professionals who work across the five fields access to graduate programs at U.S. and Indonesian universities. In the U.S., scholars attend universities across the nation, such as Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Michigan State Universities. In addition to graduate degrees, participants will receive supplemental training in areas such as English language proficiency and leadership development. Opportunities such as conferences are also provided to the scholars to expand their professional networks and demonstrate their leadership abilities and knowledge. For instance, one public health scholar in the fall 2012 presented a poster on her research at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Francisco, CA. In these ways, PRESTASI expands a scholarship into a program that contributes to the holistic education of each scholar and equips scholars with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to contribute to the continuing development of Indonesia.
An extensive outreach and selection process is conducted across Indonesia in order to diversify the contingent of young professionals who are prepared to move into leadership positions. By structuring recruitment to address the lack of access to information, limited English language ability, and gender barriers that affect some of Indonesia’s population, PRESTASI has increased the number of women and individuals from underrepresented, disadvantaged areas who are able to contribute to the nation’s growth. Under the previous program, 48% of the participants were female and 39% of participants were from outside of the capital city of Java. The breadth and depth of training coupled with the extensive outreach process enables emerging professionals from all backgrounds to achieve their leadership potential and guide Indonesia into the next phase of its growth.
As the program matures, investment in the capital of young professionals has expanded into new areas. Leadership development and an enhanced focus on gender awareness will be integrated into the academic training received by each scholar. Moreover, initiatives conducted by the Alumni Association ALPHA-I will help students learn to transfer their new skills and knowledge to their workplace, and an Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund award, granted by the U.S. Department of State in 2012, will create further opportunities for alumni to advance their fields. As the network of participants and alumni grows, the academic and life skills acquired and shared by the scholars will foster a maturing professional population that is not fractured by diversity but unified by the desire to act as positive agents of change.
As of September 2012, PRESTASI II and its predecessor program have achieved the following:
- 191 scholars have been sponsored to pursue Masters and Doctorate degrees
- 59 scholars have been placed in U.S. universities
- 14 scholars have been placed in Indonesian institutions
- 31 scholars are in the process of placement
Project Name: Program to Extend Scholarships & Training to Achieve Sustainable Impacts II (PRESTASI II)
Value of contract: $19,726,291
Duration: August 8, 2012 – August 7, 2017
Prime Contractor: Indonesian International Education Foundation (IIEF)
Partners: Institute of International Education (IIE)