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A Focus on Bolstering Indonesia’s Resilience against Global Challenges

photo of Habib

Muhammad Habib Abiyan Dzakwan
MAIR '22

Muhammad chose SAIS because of its unique features. First, it would require him to pass four international economics courses and one quantitative methods course before graduating. This was particularly important to Muhammad given that President Joko Widodo, after his 2nd inauguration in 2019, told the public that he wanted to bolster Indonesia’s economic diplomacy during his term – this is a conversation that Muhammad wants to be a part of. Second, he was drawn to how SAIS provides students a multi-disciplinary perspective for almost every single course it offers. This element is also crucial for Muhammad as he works on public policy. Lastly, Muhammad only submitted one graduate school application – to SAIS, because he wanted to make a change at the school by promoting the perspectives of Indonesia and ASEAN.  

Prior to attending SAIS, Muhammad had been working as a researcher at the Disaster Management Research Unit, CSIS Indonesia. It is the oldest think-tank in the country and going to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. His experience mostly focused on disaster-related policies, climate change, and public health both at the national and regional level. His previous work helped him contribute to debates in the classroom and while writing assignments as a student at SAIS. The most relevant so far was his experience in providing inputs on potential concurrent hazards to the Indonesian government during the early days of COVID-19.

During his graduate studies, Muhammad enjoyed meeting new friends from all over the world. No matter how intense the debate he and his colleagues had in class, they always found time to connect informally afterward. Nevertheless, he also loved one particular online course – the cost of climate change for developing countries. It was a small class full of passionate and experienced students. Muhammad really enjoyed every second of it regardless of it taking place on a Saturday afternoon.  

After graduating from SAIS, Muhammad hopes to use his degree to help the government and people of Indonesia in building resilience against potential disasters in the future. Given the extensive networks that SAIS has, Muhammad would also be glad to connect with the greater SAIS community working on the matter. 

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