In September 2014, the latest group of Tanoto Foundation scholarship recipients came together for a program of skill-building, character development experiences, and socializing, all with the goal of sending them back to their communities to make a difference. The event, held in Lembang, West Java, celebrated the attendees’ graduation, as well as their commencement as students of the Pulp and Paper Technology Academy in Bandung.
The Tanoto Foundation awards regular scholarships to young people in need in Indonesia, the home of self-made entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto, the CEO of the $15 billion RGE Group of natural resources, energy, and manufacturing companies. At the Lembang event, the scholarship recipients, known as Tanoto Scholars, concentrated on a theme of togetherness and common goals, a focus that derives from Mr. Tanoto’s corporate philosophy of doing equal good for one’s company, community, and country.
The event gave participants the chance to practice creative communication methods, discover best practices in business and interpersonal skills, and learn about individual personality differences so that they would be better prepared to work in teams. Tanoto Scholars additionally learned the best means of giving back to people in their own communities. Activities on-site involved drama, music, dance, and a hiking trip, as well as a community bonfire and a session devoted to reflection on what each attendee had learned. In one game designed to hone career skills in strategic thinking and diplomacy, the students had to safeguard lit candles entrusted to them and avoid the efforts of others attempting to put out those lights.
The Tanoto Foundation scholarship program emphasizes not only team-building and personal development, but also the acquisition of practical knowledge that will give young people a competitive edge in today’s global marketplace of skills and ideas.
The Indonesian foundation’s focus finds a parallel in a variety of United States programs that ask scholarship recipients to practice good citizenship and contribute to the well-being of their own communities.