Sota, Zero-Kilometre Point of the East

The Sota Integrated PLBN is the eighth National Border Post (PLBN) built by the government on the Indonesian border and the second PLBN built in Papua after the Skouw PLBN in Jayapura.

Sota district, located in the easternmost part of Indonesia, directly borders Papua New Guinea and is located roughly 80 kilometres from Merauke. Known as the zero-kilometre point of eastern Indonesia, it is known as one of two places in bordering Papua New Guinea in Indonesia, the other being Skouw in Jayapura. Indonesia, of course, has another zero-kilometre point in the town of Sabang in Sumatra at the opposite end of the country, the country’s westernmost point.

To reach this area from Merauke, one must travel almost an hour if by car. The trip takes us through a mostly straight, tree-lined road. The journey will take one through parts of the Wasur National Park, one of the most well-known attractions near Merauke and natural habitat of numerous endemic species. Every so often, a tall reddish-brown earthen structure will be visible. These are the famous Musamus, referred to as giant anthills, but are actually termite mounds, which are found all over Papua. Nearing the destination, houses and other buildings will be seen, where a small community has made their home. To the left, we see the zero-kilometre structure, with its large zero and an imposing statue of Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president standing nearby.

Approaching the landmark, one cannot help be reminded of the old song “Dari Sabang sampai Merauke” (From Sabang to Merauke), familiar to virtually everyone in Indonesia. The song, composed by R. Suharjo invokes a sense of pride among Indonesians, instilled at a young age that Indonesia is a vast country stretching from Sabang in the West to Merauke in the East, with all the wealth and diversity in between. We move in to take a few snapshots at the backdrop to show people at home.

According to historians, the interaction between the people of RI and PNG has gone on for many years, and is based on cultural ties, including similarities in culture, language, through marriage, as well as economic, which form the network of people living in the border area.

As we approach the border post, we see a group of people walking towards the area, carrying plastic bags. They go through checks where the personnel inspect the goods they bring. They appear to be Papua New Guinean regulars known to the personnel, greeting them by name. Nowadays, people cross the border mostly for trade. Papua New Guineaans come to buy basic necessities, especially food items such as rice and cooking oil, which they say are cheaper on the Indonesian side. Others come to bring animals from hunting and fishing to sell, such as fish and venison. The border personnel tell us that between 300 and 400 people cross the border every month.

Closing in to the metal gate separating the border, a visibly stark contrast between the two sides becomes evident. Outside the gate of the compound, we are greeted by mostly empty land, dotted with trees, and a couple of the large termite mounds. We see some of the locals gather, watching some sightseers take photos near the gate. On the left side is a stone marker stating the date of November 1983, when the exact location of the border was determined, as well as the exact coordinates. Close to the gate, we spot a small herd of deer at the grassy area.

The sky began to darken, signalling that it is almost sunset. Going back to our car, we see a group of tourists taking selfies at the zero-kilometre monument. We give the border post one last look before heading back to Merauke.

A visit to Sota is a rare opportunity, and is not something many people will ever experience. Once it’s over, it is only natural that one will want to visit its sister monument in Sabang. A visit to Merauke feels incomplete without a trip to Sota, if only to boast of having been to both ends of the country.   

Raja Ampat Wins Blue Park Award for Marine Ecosystem Protection

Raja Ampat Tourist Area (Elysabeth Chrisye – d’Traveler)

West Papua’s famed Raja Ampat islands, an area of great biodiversity as well as a picturesque tourist destination was recently honoured with The Blue Park Award by the Marine Conservation Institute, which recognizes outstanding marine protected areas (MPAs) all over the world. An MPA is a section of ocean where a government has limited human activity in order to protect it from threats including overfishing, litter, water pollution, and the effects of global climate change.

The Raja Ampat Islands Marine Conservation Area in Indonesia, along with the Apo Reef Natural Park in the Philippines, and Old Providence McBean Lagoon National Park in Colombia received the prestigious honour at the United Nations Ocean Conference, held on 27 June – 1 July 2022.  

The three new Blue Parks, covering a total area of 13,834 sq. km join a growing network of 24 Blue Parks all over the world, recognized for outstanding conservation effectiveness. With their inclusion, Blue Parks now encompass a total of 1,834,171 sq. km of protected waters in 20 countries.

Raja Ampat is located in the heart of the vast Coral Triangle, and is considered one of the most biodiverse locations in the world, with a staggering variety of marine life. Covering roughly 4.6 million hectares of land and sea, 2 million of which make up the Marine Protected Area, the islands are home to more than 1,600 species of fish, 75% of the world’s known coral species, 6 of the 7 known species of vulnerable to critically endangered sea turtles, and 17 known species of marine mammals.

Raja Ampat’s geographical location, sheer biodiversity, and high sea temperatures all year round have made it a magnet for tourists, particularly diving enthusiasts from all over the world. Divers who explore its waters may encounter a number of interesting species including black manta rays, pygmy seahorses, and mantis shrimps, and garden eels.

The success of Raja Ampat as an MPA is due to a collaborative effort launched in 2004 which brought together the local communities, the regional government, and three NGOs – Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund in order to protect the region’s biodiversity, address illegal fishing and secure management for its marine ecosystems. Uniquely, this effort integrates traditional practices including Sasi, a local custom which, in the simplest terms, prevents overexploitation of marine resources by placing limits on fishing in order to allow ecosystem recovery and improve sustainability.

The Blue Park Awards have been given by the Marine Conservation Institute to national governments, non-profit organizations, MPA managers, and local communities who have demonstrated exceptional efforts in the protection of marine ecosystems since 2017. The winners are selected based on rigorous science-based standards for conservation effectiveness. According to the Marine Conservation Institute, the goal of the initiative is to celebrate effective MPAs and incentivize governments, managers, communities and leaders to achieve effective conservation.  

Adapted from:

Marine-conservation.org, Conservation.org, National Geographic, Antara News, and Tribun Papua Barat.

West Papua Team Wins Gold Medal in World Science Engineering Environment Competition (WSEEC)

The Head of the West Papua Provincial Education Office presenting an award to the West Papua WSEEC Team at the Manokwari Rendani Airport (24/7). (ANTARA/Rachmat Julaini)

Five high school students from Manokwari Regency claimed the gold medal in the Science Category of the World Science Environment and Engineering Competition (WSEEC) in addition to the Macedonian Special Award at Universitas Indonesia (University of Indonesia), Jakarta.

The team consisted of Sarah Glory Athalya Simanjuntak and Kezia Busthan from SMA Negeri 1 Manokwari, Goura Victoria Pattiselano and Justinus Marcos Serang from SMAS Katolik Villanova Manokwari, and Petrus Gyantfranco Christian Saiba from SMA Negeri 2 Manokwari.

For Goura and Justinus, this achievement proves to the world that Papuan children are as capable as children from other regions.

“We have to show that Papua can do it. Come on Papuan children, we must study hard, and don’t be lazy,” said Goura. Justinus added that it is through education that one can see the world.

Barapen Tradition

At the WSEEC competition in Jakarta, the West Papuan team presented a scientific paper on the traditional cooking method of the Dani tribe of the Jayawijaya district, Papua, known as “barapen” popularly known as “burning stones”.

Through their research and presentation, the West Papua team demonstrated that the traditional Papuan cooking method can be more effective and efficient by reducing the duration of the hours-long cooking process.

“The duration of the stone burning is usually several hours, starting from heating the stone, putting the meat and vegetables into the opening so that the food can be cooked and then consumed. Our presentation showed that it only takes 20 minutes to cook meat and vegetables, and 30 minutes to heat the stones. So, it only takes 50 minutes in total,” explained Justinus.

WSEEC

The WSEEC competition took place on 17-20 July 2022 in hybrid format at Universitas Indonesia. The West Papua team competed against 350 teams from 22 countries. It took three months for the West Papua team to prepare for the competition.

In the judging session, each participant was allotted three hours to present the results of their research and scientific work to a multinational jury.

WSEEC is known as an International-level Invention competition held by the Indonesian Young Scientists Association (IYSA) and Sekolah Ilmu Lingkungan Universitas Indonesia (University of Indonesia’s School of Environmental Sciences). This event is the suitable learning platform to foster research and scientific work using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) among the young generation.

Adopted from:
Antara News, Papua Kini.

Cheating prawns from Papua: why cheating is good

Yes, cheating is good, even finger licking good! No, we are not talking about the famous fried chicken, but yes, you are right, it’s about food. Papuans call it Udang Selingkuh or Cheating Prawns. When people first hear about cheating prawns, they generally wonder why the prawns were given such a name? Were they having affairs? With whom? You’ll be happy to know that they are innocent. Udang selingkuh is a unique Papuan delicacy. The freshwater prawns are larger and the size of their claws is almost equivalent to crabs’ claws, resulting in an assumption that a certain prawn had an affair with with a certain crab; and udang selingkuh are their offsprings.

Credits: Cendana News

Jokes aside, udang selingkuh is a type of lobster (Cherax Albertisii), found in the mountainous region of Wamena, Papua. They are widely spread in rivers in the Baliem Valley. Papuans also find them in Lake Paniai, LakeTage, and Lake Tigi. Udang selingkuh is served in various ways, but due to its tastiness, it is not rare that udang selingkuh is cooked only with little salt to none.

The taste of cheating prawns is slightly different from the taste of prawns in general. The texture is more fibrous and tender with a slightly sweet taste, like the taste of lobster meat. Similar to prawns in general, all parts of the body are edible except the head, but we will get a bonus of meat on the large claws.

Udang selingkuh is not only delicious but also nutritious. It is high in calcium and protein. In addition, it contains minerals in the form of selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and zinc. Cheating prawns are also low in calory (106 calories every 100 grams of meat).

Tourists mostly request the dish served in sweet and sour sauce, accompanied by stir-fried vegetables, such as water spinach or papaya flowers. The popularity of cheating prawns resulted in the emergence of a number of restaurants championing the dish, especially in Wamena. Mas Budi Restaurant, Baliem Pilamo Restaurant, Pilamo Cafe, and Blambangan Restaurant are among them.

To be able to enjoy it, you have to depend on the season because udang selingkuh is not specifically cultivated until now. The restaurants mostly rely on the catch of local residents who hunt traditionally on the Baliem River. They charge approximately USD30-8 per plastic bag. The price can indeed soar if the supply of shrimp is limited. Due to the high demand and low supply, tourists must pay about USD20-50 per portion or even more.

To those intrigued to taste udang selingkuh, the price does not matter. They will visit Papua to experience the dish that so far could only be enjoyed freshly there. If you are interested, make sure you avoid rainy season because the prawns will disappear from the market. So, best of luck!

Adapted from National Geographic Indonesia and Tagar.id

Paniai coffee from Papua continues to go global

Credit: Pixabay

The Papua Provincial Government will introduce Paniai coffee as a champion product at G20 events in Nusa Dua, Bali this coming June.

In addition to Paniai coffee, several other Papuan products will be exhibited and sold during G20 related events from June until the commencement of the G20 Summit in November.

Paniai is a regency located in the central mountainous area in Papua and has more than 200,000 residents.

Paniai coffee farmers use seeds from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica to produce a mild taste with a subtle acidity, floral aroma, and almost no bitterness in every sip of Paniai coffee. Grown on altitudes of 1,300-2,000 meters above sea level, Paniai coffee has a unique flavour and aroma.

In 2019, Paniai Regent Meki Nawipa launched a program to plant one million coffee trees and financial assistance for coffee farmers there. Up to now, more than 300,000 trees have been planted. To boost the production, Paniai Regency also plans to build its own factory.

Previously, Director of the Community Welfare Development Foundation, Hanok Herison Pigai assessed that native Papuan coffee commodities, including Paniai coffee, had quite promising marketing prospects. Market opportunities are increasingly open because drinking coffee has become a lifestyle for urban communities. “I want people’s coffee cultivation to continue to develop in Papua. Because marketing [at the] local and national level continues to increase due to an increase in the number of cafes,” said Pigai.

Adapted from Tempo and iNews Papua.

Papuan students show academic achievement in the United States

Students from Papua graduated from Corban University on Saturday (7/5/2022) (ANTARA/HO-KJRI San Francisco)

A total of 10 Indonesian students from Papua graduated from Corban University, Salem, Oregon state, United States. The students come from various regions in Papua. During their study in the US, they received support for a special autonomy scholarship from the Papua Provincial Government and successfully completed their education in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

These Papuan students are part of about 240 scholarship recipients who graduated in the first semester of this year. Although they had experienced great challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the graduates from Papua finally proved their hard work in completing their studies at one of the best universities in the city of Salem. They managed to graduate and adapt while studying abroad and showed academic achievements.

The long-awaited graduation ceremony was also attended by representatives from the Indonesian Consulate General in San Francisco who could at least replace the presence of the parents of Papuan graduates. One of the graduates, Nathanael Alvin Affar, stated that the absence of their parents was due to the limitations caused by the pandemic.

One of the graduates named Milda Kogoya expressed her desire to be part of an agent of change that provides benefits for the development and progress of Indonesia in general, especially in Papua. Meanwhile, other graduates, Deswan Wanimbo and Aimur Pagawak, also wish to continue their studies at the S2 and S3 levels. It is hoped that later the contribution of the nation’s young generation will be able to contribute to the progress of national and regional development where they come from.

All of these Papuan graduates are also part of about 28 Papuan youths and women who were sent to study in the state of Oregon. They receive scholarship support from the special autonomy fund as an effort to improve human resources for the Papuan people. Since the scholarship program was launched, there have been no less than 1,000 recipients of scholarships for Papuan students and around 600 of them have studied abroad, including in Oregon, USA.

Source:
Suarajogja.id, papua.inews.id.

Papuan millennial farmers’ coffee steals people’s attention at the World Coffee Festival in Boston

Koteka Coffee from Oksibil, Papua
Credit: VIVA/Isra Berlian

Several brands of Papuan coffee produced by indigenous Papuan were exhibited at “Specialty Coffee Expo” in Boston, United States, on April 8-10, 2022. These coffees have even become the centre of attention at the coffee stand owned by the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture.

Representative of the Agricultural Attache at the Indonesian Embassy to the United States, Rachmad Poetranto said that the enthusiasm of visitors to Papuan coffee was extraordinary.

According to him, thousands of visitors seemed to enjoy a variety of coffee, like Wilchoff Coffee, Kitong Coffee, and Manna Coffee.

“The three coffee brands are the stars of the coffee stand owned by the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture. Everyone is curious why the taste of this coffee can be found in Asia,” said Poetranto.

Wilchoff coffee, owned by Willy Sombuk and his colleagues, grows from arabica coffee plantations in the Arfak Mountains, West Papua and Dogiay, Papua. “In’papua Coffee and Roastery” which produces highland arabica from the central highlands of Papua belongs to Litha Numberi and her colleagues, while “Kitong Kopi”, which is robusta coffee, grows from the lowlands in Yapen Islands, Papua belongs to Bintang Rivani and his colleagues. 

These Papuan coffee business owners are members of the Inspiring Young Papuan community assisted by the Ministry of Agriculture. Nearly 2,000 members of the Papua and West Papua millennial farmers are currently registered to the program.

The Specialty Coffee Expo brought together North America’s biggest professionals, business people, and coffee lovers. More than 400 coffee and commodity companies brought the industry’s most up-to-date products and showcased the leading innovations in specialty coffee.

“If calculated from the incoming pre-orders, together with other coffee brands from all over Indonesia, around 20 containers have been ordered,” said Mey Osok, one of the founders of the Inspiring Young Papua Community who was present in Boston, exhibiting the coffee from Papua.

Mey Osok said on behalf of the Inspirational Young Papua Community, young farmers of coffee, cocoa, and other commodities in Papua and West Papua, thanked President Jokowi, the Minister of Agriculture, the Indonesian Embassy in America, the Consul General in New York, and the agricultural attache.

The effort to bring native Papuan coffee to the coffee exhibition centre in Boston, USA is aimed at encouraging coffee production from Indonesia to be able to compete with coffees from various countries in the world.

Adapted from: Viva & Warta Ekonomi.

The General of Free Papua Organization and 2 Members of the Papuan Armed Criminal Group Return to the Republic of Indonesia, These are The Reasons

(Credit: Kompas)

After the three-star general of the Papuan Armed Criminal Group (KKB) surrendered, two other Papuan KKB members also returned to the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

What is the reason for them to finally repent and what is the TNI’s message to other Papuan KKB members who still have not surrendered? Here is the review.

See also the figure of the three-star general of the Papuan KKB who surrendered at the end of this article.

Yes, two members of the Papuan KKB have surrendered and returned to the Republic of Indonesia.

Quoting Kompas.com (2/4/2022), they are Natalis Watora (25) and Engel Feneteruma (31), members of the TPNPB-OPM Kodap XII Kaimana-Kuri from Rauna Village.

Both of them surrendered to the Military Command 1804-07/Kambrauw, Sunua Village, Kambrauw District, Kaimana, West Papua and vowed to be loyal to the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

They came carrying a number of items, such as two arrowheads and two 3-mm air rifle bullets.

The surrender process was assisted by the Head of the Kambrauw District, Barent Tumanat and received by the Danramil 1804-07/Kambrauw Inf. Captain Frans Aboda.

The surrender began when the two ran away from Jonair Waga’s group and his sympathisers.

The group was about to commit an act at the TPU entrance junction approximately 200 meters west of Infantry Battalion 764/IB.

Natalis and Engel ran away from the group out of fear and feeling they would be abandoned.

They decided to return to Rauna Village on foot through the outskirts of the forest along the road to Tanggaromi Village until they arrived at one of the residents’ houses.

They then decided to meet with the Head of the Kambraw District, Barent Tumanat and head to the Koramil 1804-07/Kambrauw to surrender.

On that occasion, the two sympathisers made a statement to return to be loyal to the Republic of Indonesia and obey the laws in force in Indonesia.

After returning to the Republic of Indonesia, Natalis asked the residents of Rauna Village not to be influenced by invitations from irresponsible people.

Especially residents outside Kaimana to act anarchistically.

“I promise not to repeat what we have done and always be loyal to the Republic of Indonesia and support all forms of government policies of the Republic of Indonesia,” he said.

He also urged his friends who were still in Rauna Village to immediately report to the Kambrauw District Head or the Kambrauw Danramil.

Currently, the two sympathisers were handed back to the Head of the Kambrauw District and the Kambrauw Danramil to be returned to their families.

The Commander of Kodam XVIII/Kasuari, Maj. Gen. Gabriel Lema, thanked the sympathisers who had chosen to return to the right path.

They have returned as part of the united and inseparable Indonesian nation from Sabang to Merauke.

“I urge other members of the TPNPB-OPM group, Indonesia openly welcomes you all back together to build West Papua as part of the Republic of Indonesia.

The chivalry attitude of all of you is awaited to build a glorious West Papua,” said Gabriel Lema.

Prior to that, Alex Ruyaweri Yessi Makabori, a 3-star general of the Papuan KKB also surrendered and returned to the Republic of Indonesia.

Quoting Tribunnews.com, Head of Criminal Investigation Unit Iptu Muhammad Rizka stated that Alex is a high-ranking officer from the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) in the Tabi area, Papua who is now 70 years old.

At TPNPB, Alex served as Chief of Army Staff (KSAD).

Alex expressed his attitude to return to the Republic of Indonesia at the Obhe Reay May Hall, Jayapura Police, Jayapura Regency, Papua, Wednesday (23/3/2022).

When he surrendered himself to the authorities, Alex also handed over a number of items.

The items that were handed over were TPNPB documents, 20 rounds of blank bullets, and a striped shirt with the rank of 3 star general.

Alex previously played an active role in his organization.

“Based on a warrant dated February 14, 2022 and a statement from Erik Makabori Alex’s biological son, the Jayapura Police was asked to take care of his parents (Alex),” said Muhammad Rizka, Wednesday (23/03/2022).

According to the Criminal Investigation Unit, Alex stated firmly that he had returned to the NKRI.

He also stated that he was willing to provide all the documents and evidence he received from the TPNPB.

“He thanked the Papuan Police Chief and Jayapura Police Chief for taking care of him and bringing him back to the Republic of Indonesia,” he said.

In addition, Erik Makabori, Alex’s biological son, also thanked the Jayapura Police for successfully nurturing his father.

Adapted from: Tribun News Surabaya, Kompas

Nelson Sarira, A Survivor of the KKB Massacre that Killed 8 PTT Employees

Nelson Sarira holds up a sign that reads “pick up, only me alive”
Credit: Satgas Damai Cartenz

The attack of the armed criminal group (KKB) on Wednesday (2/3/2022) in Beoga District, Puncak Regency, Papua which killed 8 telecommunication workers still leaves deep sorrow for the people of Indonesia. 

Eight people including employees of PT Palapa Timur Telematika (PTT), contractors, and local residents who accompanied the repair of Telkomsel’s tower base transceiver station (BTS) 3 were killed by KKB.

This incident was discovered when one of the workers who survived, Nelson Sarira, sent a danger code through closed-circuit television (CCTV) located in the tower.

KKB Attack
Nelson said the attack occurred at around 04.00 WIT where he and his team were resting. A total of 10 people then entered the camp carrying sharp weapons, and massacred the team group by slitting one by one.

Nelson managed to jump out of the camp because of his position at the end and immediately ran to hide on the hill. At around 07.00 WITA when the situation seemed safer, Nelson returned to the camp and saw that eight of his colleagues had died.

In a critical situation, Nelson then sent the danger code via CCTV in BTS Tower 3 at 13.00 WIT, and the code was monitored in the afternoon at 16.00 WIT at the PTT Head Office in Jakarta.

Nelson was successfully evacuated by helicopter on Saturday (5/3/2022) due to unfavourable weather conditions. Combined personnel consisting of five Penerbad personnel and one member of the Gakkum Ops Damai Cartenz Task Force evacuated by involving two helicopters, namely the Komala Indonesia AS 350 B3E/PK-KIE helicopter and the Penerbad Bell 412EP/HA-5177 (Aircover) helicopter.

Nelson, who served as the Department of FOP East Palapa Telematics, is currently still being treated at the Timika Hospital, Mimika Regency.

Internet Service Providers Association (APJII) Condemns The Attack

APJII called the attacks on PT PTT employees, contractors and local residents extremely brutal. The chairman of APJII, Muhammad Arif, emphasized the huge losses incurred as a result of this ruthless attack.

“APJII condemns the rioters who sacrificed civilians and disrupted telecommunication infrastructure,” said APJII chairman Muhammad Arif in a written statement received, Friday (4/3/2022) evening WIB.

Arif assessed that the attack could also have a broad impact on Papuan communication network services. Because they attacked and killed employees who were repairing telecommunications infrastructure in Kago Village, Ilaga District, Puncak Regency.

For APJII, they are telecommunications workers who are frontline fighters with a noble task of connecting information to the public in Eastern Indonesia.

Adapted from: TV One, dan Liputan 6.

Soon Papua Will Have An International Standard University

Indonesia is a large country consisting of many islands. This caused some treatment differences that urban areas and 3T areas (“Tertinggal” Lagged, “Terdepan” Frontier and “Terluar” Outermost) had to experience.

Starting from internet access, transportation and even educational facilities for the young generation. However, there is good news from the easternmost island of Indonesia. Papua Province in the near future will soon have an international standard campus. On top of that the campus which will be called International University of Papua, is said to be a competitor to Harvard University in the United States.

This is after the central government officially received the Decree (Surat Keputusan) of the Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (Mendikbud Ristek) number 24/E/O/2022 regarding the permit for the establishment and inauguration of the International University of Papua (UIP) on Monday (14/2/2022).

Leading Faculty in UIP

This step was taken as the government’s support in the education sector by advancing human resources in Papua.

Quoting from the Instagram account of the Directorate General of Higher Education, Research and Technology (Ditjen Diktiristek), Wednesday (16/2/2022), UIP has two leading faculties, namely: 1. Science and Technology 2. Teacher Training and Education.

UIP is also equipped with an International Research Center to support student learning.

Bring in teachers from Papua and abroad

The campus will bring in teachers from Papua and abroad Indonesia with background knowledge that is in accordance with the needs of UIP as an acceleration of progress in the Land of Papua.

The construction of the International University of Papua (UIP) campus is part of the efforts to accelerate development of Human Resources in Papua. This step is also part of the President’s focus in the realization of Presidential Instruction No. 09.2020 concerning the Acceleration of Welfare Development in Papua.

The Presidential Staff Office (KSP) appreciates the establishment of this International University which was marked by the Decree of the Permit to Establish the International University of Papua by the Head of the Higher Education Service Institution (LLDIKTI) Region XIV (14) Papua and West Papua, Suriel S Mofu, the Organizing Committee for the International University of Papua, Samuel Tabuni in Jayapura.

Producing qualified human resources in Papua

In addition, KSP appreciates the issuance of the decree and sees that UIP can contribute in producing an international quality of human resources (HR) in Papua.

Moreover, the Papua region has strategic potential in developing international education cooperation considering it is close to other countries such as Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand which have good diplomatic relations with Pacific countries.

In the future, it is hoped that UIP can facilitate the need of improving the quality of education in Eastern part of Indonesia through affirmations and accelerating the development of Papua’s welfare.

Deputy II of the Presidential Chief of Staff, Abetnego Tarigan, said that UIP is expected to be a beam of light from the east as a new foundation for the development in Eastern Indonesia.

“With the existence of UIP, it can increase competitiveness as well as to improve performance and upgrade potential workforce who are qualified in their fields,” said Abetnego.

Adapted from KOMPAS; Medcom.id

Fientje Maritje Suebu, the First Papuan Woman to be the Indonesian Ambassador

President Joko Widodo has just appointed Fientje Maritje Suebu as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Indonesia to New Zealand and concurrently Samoa, Kingdom of Tonga, Cook Islands and Niue.

She was sworn in along with two other ambassadors at the State Palace, Jakarta, Wednesday (12/1/2022). Fientje is the only female ambassador sworn in that day, and she is also the first woman from Papua to serve as Indonesian ambassador.

According to Kompas TV, Fientje Suebu is the only daughter among the five sons of a tribal chief in Papua. The woman (red: Fientje) who was born in Sentani has been an active diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 31 years.

After she graduate from University, Fientje continued studied at the Diplomatic Training School. After graduating, she was recruited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and moved to Jakarta. Prior being appointed as Ambassador of New Zealand, Fientje served as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia to India. She has served as DCM in Indonesian Embassy in India since February 2018. In July 2021, the People’s Representative Council of Indonesia (DPR RI) declared that Fientje had passed the fit and proper test as an ambassador.

Papuan women are capable

Fientje admits that her decades of career in diplomacy as well as being a mother of three children is not easy. Her profession required her and the family to travel to another country every three to four years. One of the challenges they are facing is to adapt to different education systems in different countries. Luckily, she has the full support of her husband, Philipus Sarwom.

With her career achievements, Fientje wants to show that Papuans are capable of being empowered like other people from different province in Indonesia. She believes that Papuan women are capable of becoming agents of change in their respective fields. Not only securing the position at executive, legislative, or judicial positions, but most importantly being able to compete in this era of globalization. “Achievements lead to happiness. We try our best in this life and we feel good about it,” said Fientje. “Whether at the office, at home, raising a family and nurturing a relationships, educating children, or anything that leads to satisfaction is a success,” she added.

Source: Kompas

Port Numbay batik carries message of peace from Papuan mothers

Jimmy Afaar, the initiator of Port Numbay Batik, presents his batik design.

The mothers are diligent and patient while drawing the batik patterns. They are happy they could introduce Papua arts and culture that are manifested in the Port Numbay batik patterns

Jayapura, Papua – Papuan mothers’ skilled hands steadily draw intricate and distinct patterns to create a batik fabric popularly known as Port Numbay.

The Port Numbay batik was initiated by Jimmy Afaar, a native Papuan, by combining patterns from Papua’s 250 ethnic groups. His creation has been proven popular among domestic and international markets, and it provides more choices for visitors looking for locally-made crafts.

Despite his official duties for the Papua women’s volleyball team during the PON XX National Games, Afaar has not ceased to assist the mothers to complete orders and promote the fabric.

Recalling the inception of Port Numbay batik, Afaar said his greatest motivation for developing the batik was to empower local mothers, who were skilled in weaving or painting yet received no economic gain from their skills.

Afaar decided to exploit the popularity of batik, recognized as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2009, to enhance local mothers’ livelihood and empower them.

“We want to empower the mothers economically to allow them earning a living not only for daily foods but also to pay for their offsprings’ school tuition,” Afaar, who is also known as Opa by those close by him, said.

To fulfill his goal, Afaar decided to go to Java Island to study the batik-making process. After spending years gaining experience, he decided to return home and share his newly acquired knowledge of batik with local mothers.

Empower local mothers and inspire creative economy

Upon returning to his native land, he began his first mission: he needed to convince the mothers to participate in his endeavour. He later asked his cousin to persuade her friends to join the batik-making class, and 15 mothers gathered in his early batik classes 17 years ago.

To further hone the mothers’ batik-making skills, Afaar invited batik trainers from Yogyakarta to hold batik classes for them. Besides batik-making skills, he also taught the mothers time management so they could balance their house chores and batik production.

Afaar also introduced more intricate and diverse batik patterns as the mothers’ ability increased over time. Starting from bird-of-paradise patterns, he gave the women the liberty to create and innovate with new patterns.

Once the women began to accumulate completed batik fabrics, Afaar was ready for his second mission: Searching for potential markets and selling the batik. He relied upon a connection with government employees for his first batik orders.

“I started the marketing process by promoting the batik from door to door. I also called my friend who worked in the Governor’s office and brought the batik fabric to their office. I often commuted in a public bus to sell the batik fabric, and my batik began to attract more buyers,” said Afaar, recounting his struggle in building the Port Numbay batik business.

Despite the fatigue of commuting far distances to sell batik, Afaar’s spirit quickly returned when he saw the happy faces of women empowered and able to earn a living on their own. He said his batik products truly embody a “from mothers, by mothers, and to mothers” spirit.

His tireless efforts began to bear fruit once foreign tourists began to favor the Port Numbay batik, and the mothers participating in the production process became more enthused to finish more batik fabrics.

“The mothers are diligent and patient while drawing the batik patterns. They are happy they could introduce Papua arts and culture that are manifested in the Port Numbay batik patterns,” Afaar said.

At present, Afaar sells two-meter batik fabric for Rp600 thousand (around US$42), two-and-a-half meter batik fabric for Rp650 thousand (around US$45.5), and three-meter batik fabric for Rp700 thousand (around US$49).

The PON XX National Games hosted in Papua province have also brought economic advantage to mothers producing the batik. Afaar said he had to hire more women and pay them on a daily basis to satisfy the increasing demand for the batik fabric.

“We started only with 15 mothers, and currently we have 36 mothers who have joined our endeavour to create batik with us. To accommodate the increasing demand during the PON Games, we even resorted to hiring more mothers that would be paid daily,” Afaar added.

Message of peace, diversity from Papua

Afaar’s simpler designs and patterns that were utilized earlier in the Port Numbay batik have over time been eclipsed by new symbols and motifs deliberately conceived by him to introduce Papuan ethnic groups to the world.

The diverse designs include farming utensils, marine resources from coastal tribes, and Noken – a local woven bag native to Papua – as an auspicious symbol of blessing. Those symbols have been introduced by Afaar to depict Papua’s natural and cultural diversity.

The message of peace conveyed by the Port Numbay batik later brought a special mission for him when he was assigned to create batik designs for President Joko Widodo and the First Lady Iriana in 2015.

To complete the task, he decided to draw a boat and paddle pattern — a symbol of command among the Tobati and Enggros ethnic groups native to Jayapura – in the batik fabric for the President as an expression of hope for his successful leadership.

“In our customs, when the tribe leader directed the rowers to row the boat, the leader should ensure the boat would safely reach the destination no matter how huge the waves, winds, or other obstacles they should brave,” Afaar said.

Afaar expressed hope his endeavour, besides successfully empowering Papuan mothers, would also successfully introduce the message of peace and diversity from Papua to the world.

“All of the patterns conceived in the Port Numbay batik embodied social or cultural values. We did not include any patterns that might be interpreted as symbols of violence or discrimination because our main goal is to convey the message of peace and unity for Indonesia,” Afaar remarked.

Source: Antara News