By: Profesor Nyayu Khodijah
Rector UIN Raden Fatah Palembang-Indonesia
Hello everybodyHow are you today? Welcome to Washington DC, welcome to Thunderbird School of Global Management-Arizona State University. I am very happy to meet you all.. A man was so happy to welcome us, a big smile always on his face. The bow tie is combined with a blue suit and pants, with a well-propotional body. He was so agile walking to every side of the room with communicative hand movements.
Great! Excellent! Amazing!. Those words are so familiar to the ears every time we give an answer to the question. Whatever our answer, right or wrong, his response is always like that. Of course, with a big smile. He never tired. From the first day until the last day with us, his expression and agility never changed, even though we were sure he must be very tired from the very busy activities for the past two days.
Landry Signe, a man, a Professor at a Thunderbird Schoolof Global Management with the title of the best number one in the United States, is the main mentor and at the same time is a companion to our team UIN Raden Fatah on a visit to Washington DC. It is especially to the Thunderbird School of Global Management, 19- July 20, 2022. We were always escorted by him for two full days, accompanied by Program Manager Sylvia Amanda, and Jennifer Betancur, a starting from serious activities on their campus, to visits the World Bank, the Indonesian Embassy, as far as continuing site visits to Capitol Hill.
For his initiative and hard work, UIN Raden Fatah Palembang were able to visit the World Bank headquarters. World Banks! Yes, it is the largest financial Institution in the world that has been involved in determining the “fate” of countries in the world. It was unimaginable before, an educational institution from Palembang, could set stand into the most important institution in the world. We even had a direct dialogue with the Former Executive Director of the World Bank, Mr. Octavio Canuto, Mr. Abdoul Salam and Mr. Pardjiyono.
Not only that, I, as a Rector of UIN Raden Fatah Palembang, also had the opportunity to appear together with Susan Goldberg, Editor in Chief of National Geographic (Nat Geo). Who does not know Nat Geo? The largest media in the world with a network that has penetrated into the various fields, both magazines and of course television broadcasts. Susan Goldberg is one of the most influential female journalist in United State, a recipient of the Pulitzer Award, the highest award for journalists in United states of America.
I have to stand beside Madam President!, is the utterance that always comes from her every time a photo session is held. What is meant as a president is myself, the Rector of UIN Raden Fatah Palembang. He always calls her madam, the polite greeting in United States of America. As fast and without hesitation, he will immediately run over to take a photo together. Sometimes, he will also take the camera and become a photographer for all of us Amazing professor.
Madam President, I am sure that your University will become a world class University. You have a great team! The utterance is so motivating and giving me a spirit. Compared to Thunderbird School of Global Management, of course, we are nothing, but he is so convinced. You will be! It was a belief that was then instilled in me.
His footsteps seemed endless. Accompanying him down the uphill road to Capitol Hill, I had to half run. Uh, his posture is far from mine and he looks like other Americans , never slow in walking and I have to gasp to follow. “Oh, I am sorry Madam President,” he smiled when he saw I had to chase.
Professor Landry is an extraordinary people. My search results show that he has won various International awards, he is also active in teaching and a visiting scholar at various other well- known Universities, such as Brooking, Stanford University, Georgetown University, Montreal University, Ottawa University, Oxford University and various other universities. He is also the winner of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader as a Most Creative Thinker, and Driving The Transformation of Africa. This includes the recipient of the American Political Science Association Campus Teaching Award, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Academic Research and Creative Activity. What a dream I can work together and be “served” by people like this, it is unimaginable!
At the end of the event, we visited the Indonesian Embassy to United State. This is actually out of the agenda with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, it means the task has been completed. But unexpectedly when we made small talk, did he want to come to the embassy? “Okay, I am ready!” he smile. Professor Landry was there in time at 10:00 am in Washington D.C.
“I am ready to support the progress of educational and its including UIN Raden Fatah Palembang. We will make this concrete, and we from, Thunderbird School of Global Management is ready to collaborate in a concrete ways, such as student exchange, research, or community service. I have had discussions with Dr. Yenrizal, for the research and scientific publications, we will discuss it, he promised during a dialogue with Prof. Poppy, the Indonesian Education and Culture attaché.
So far, I have always believed that the hospitality belongs to Easterners, especially Indonesians in receiving guests. However, two days with Prof Landry, I had to reverse that hypothesis. Scientists in US, a country that is liberal and more individualistic, are far more welcoming and enthusiastic about serving guests. Will Indonesians and professors in Indonesia be as friendly and caring as Professor Landry when receiving guests? I have learnt a lot from Professor Landry’s personality.
Ok Madam President, this is the end of our meeting. I have to deliver a special gift for you. This is a pin I got from Barack Obama. This pin has the signature of The Great President of United States of America. I give this especially to you. “I am very happy,” he said. Surprise! I know from US cultures, it is not easy to give something to another people which the thing is considered very important and valuable. But this time, I accepted it. Barack Obama’s signed pin! What other favors of God will I deny, I am speechless.
That afternoon, the Emirates aircraft started moving from John F Kennedy International Airport of New York. From the window I looked at the distance, high buildings of the superpower. From a University that I cannot classified as the largest in Indonesia, I have already stood in the land of United States of America. The country that has been reference for the world civilization which considered the regulator of life throughout the world, and I have found other unforgettable sides. Good By USA, see you later Professor Landry. Your personality and acceptance over these two days, overturned all the hypotheses I had received about the US. I will call you again, for my institution.