Published: 10 Dec 2021

Alumni Profile

Deris, Alumni of International Relations Study Program, President Univ:
Uncovering the Path to Become an Impactful Leader


During the era of globalization, which opens up barriers between countries, the opportunities for a global career are also increasingly open. This is what one alumnus of President University (PresUniv), namely Muhamad Rizki Nugraha Darma Nagara, took advantage of. Muhamad Rizki, usually called Deris, was a student of the International Relations Study Program, batch 2015, concentrating on Diplomacy. Since he was a student, Deris has been active in various national and international forums. After becoming an alumnus, he is still active in participating in various forums abroad to represent Indonesia.


Becomes Indonesia's Representative at the ASEAN-Korea Forum

Recently, Deris became Indonesia's representative at the 2021 ASEAN-Korea Political Security Forum, held hybrid by the Asia Exchange Association (AEA) in Busan, South Korea. In the event, which lasted for a week (Tuesday (9/11) to Monday (15/11)), Deris became the representative of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY). This international forum was attended by undergraduate and postgraduate students from all countries in ASEAN who are interested in developing ASEAN-Korea relations.

Deris said he should have attended in person in Busan but was hindered by strict policies and quarantine from the South Korean side. “I ended up only being able to participate online. This was certainly a challenge for me because this diplomatic agenda usually has to be done face-to-face. Moreover, this time's agenda was to carry out peace diplomacy missions and exchange experiences. Fortunately, the committee was able to organize the event well,” said Deris to Silvia Desi Betrice from the Public Relations team, PresUniv. This international forum had various series of activities with the main activities, namely ASEAN-Korea Youth Diplomatic Workshop, ASEAN-Korea Model Summit, Country Meetings and Committee Sessions, Keynote Speech, and Chair's Report.

Deris explained the process he went through until he was finally chosen to join this forum. "I have to go through a lot of processes," he said. Starting from document collection, essay writing and resume submission, administrative selection, interviews, until finally the final stage discussion. Deris admitted that he successfully qualified for this forum because he had previously participated in other international forums. He said, “I used to represent Indonesia at the 9th ASEAN-Korea Frontier Forum in 2020 in Busan as well. At that time, I represented the Ministry of Youth and Sports (Kemenpora) Republic of Indonesia. Now, I represent SOMY Indonesia," he said. In addition to the event, Deris also represented Indonesia at the 2019 ASEAN-Russia Youth Summit in Manila, Philippines.

His success in participating in this international forum makes Deris feel happy and proud. He said he wanted to be able to contribute more to improving relations between people in each country. "I believe as young people we can be agents of change and bridges to improve relations globally," he said.

Then for the ASEAN-Korea forum, Deris expressed the reason that made him want to participate, namely because he wanted to learn to be a leader at the international level, including making decisions and foreign policy. According to him, by participating in this event, he will be able to actualize his desire. Because at this event, he was represented his own country and prepared all materials and state reports to be presented. He said, “This forum can be a place to be the best version of myself. Besides that, I can also gain experience and learn how to make the best policies to fulfill national interests while still being mutually beneficial for ASEAN countries.”

In this forum, Deris also wanted to convey his thoughts on the future of ASEAN-Korea, especially Indonesia-Korea. He, who also represented Indonesian youth, hopes to convey his ideas to improve relations between youth in ASEAN, focusing on socio-cultural, educational, and economic fields. In addition, he also wants to expand his international network with ASEAN youth. He revealed, “Participating in international forums means we have the opportunity to make more friends and expand our network. Furthermore, we may be able to create an interstate youth community in ASEAN.” In addition to relations between young people, he also wants to improve ASEAN-Korea diplomatic relations through his experience following the ASEAN-Korea Frontier Forum in 2020.

Deris uses this forum as a medium to develop his skills and talents, especially in the field of diplomacy. For diplomacy, extensive knowledge of the country or institution being addressed is fundamental. Therefore he was very interested in joining this forum. Apart from learning about Korean culture, Deris admitted that he really likes how Korea shows its country's brand to the world. In addition, he also likes Korean culture. Starting from music, fashion, film, art, education, technology, and history. He added, “In addition to being able to learn Korean culture, this event can also be a place for us to conduct cultural exchanges between countries. So we can introduce Indonesian culture to other countries as well.”


Study Master's at Columbia University

For Deris, education is vital. After graduating in 2019, Deris decided to go to college again. In 2021 he was accepted for the second Masters (S2) program. Most people may prefer to continue their education at the Doctoral level (S3) after finishing their master's degree. Deris did not. He chose to get a second master's degree in a different field. In January 2022, Deris will start taking his Master's education at one of the world's top universities, namely Columbia University, New York, USA. It is the 19th best university in the world based on the QS World University Rankings 2021.

At Columbia University, Deris takes the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Study Program at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). SIPA Columbia is even ranked first in the International Global Policy School by US News in their 2021 Best Graduate School rankings. The concentration taken is Political and Economic Development with a specialization in international organizations, especially the United Nations (UN). He was eager to take up this specialization because Columbia University has close ties to the United Nations. Regarding specialization in economic and political development, Deris said, “This is in line with my interest in promoting inclusiveness and human development.”

Deris said that his decision to focus on public policy was based on his experience while joining the Paguyuban Mojang Jajaka Ciamis (PAMOKA). He is concerned about the fact that most young Indonesians have problems with limited access to education and inequality in opportunity and empowerment. Meanwhile, they all have big dreams. "That is what strengthened my determination. I hope to bring about inclusive change for Indonesia's development through advocacy and public policy," he said.


Become an Impactful Leader

In the future, Deris wants to invest his ability to enrich Indonesian life, become an impactful global leader, and improve the quality of life by joining the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), becoming a diplomat or Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia. He believes that the MPA program at SIPA Columbia can be a way for him to make a difference for the world.

Not to forget, Deris also invites youthful Indonesians to play an active role as agents of change. According to him, it would be better if young people today not only knew what is happening in Indonesia but also in the world. Because today's globalization causes everything to be interconnected.

For students who also want to participate in various international forums actively, Deris said, there are many international forums that are not only held by the government but also various agencies, communities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He advised, “Just be active in looking for information on the internet. It can be on the official website and Instagram of the embassy and various ministries. All young Indonesians are entitled to equal opportunities. Here the most important thing is the initiative to seek information.” (Silvia Desi Betrice, PR team. Photo: Muhamad Rizki Nugraha Darma Nagara.)