Monash Master of International Relations alumnus, Fahd Pahdepie, has won the 2017 Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Supported by the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the award is part of the 2017 Alumni Awards which recognize and showcase the significant contribution made by Australian Alumni in their professional fields.
Fahd is an author and social entrepreneur who developed inspirasi.co, an online platform for aspiring writers, videographers, photographers and graphic designers to showcase their projects and build networks. Fahd explained that inspirasi.co is an open platform which invites creative people from multiple disciplines to spread the idea of diversity and tolerance.
“Imagine if they can create writing, designs, illustrations, videos, or music that campaign for diversity and create a counter-narrative to terrorism? That will be something!” said Fahd.
Since it's launch in January 2016, the site has reached more than 46,000 members, and over 74,000 works have been uploaded. One project example was a competition run by inspirasi.co in collaboration with ‘Yayasan Indonesia Tanpa Diskriminasi' (Indonesia Without Discrimination Foundation) and ‘Aliansi Nasional untuk Bhinneka Tunggal Ika‘ (National Alliance for Indonesian Ethnic and Religious Diversity), calling for essays, posters, and videos to promote tolerance and diversity. Thousands of works were submitted during the competition, and Fahd sees many of those works as having the potential to change people's hearts and minds.
“I believe that creative industries can be used to prevent youth from being lured into extremism. I do it with my writings in social media and also my books. If I can soften people’s hearts with my works, videos or music that’s what I will do, to build a counter-narrative to extremism. I am pretty sure that if we want to be successful in de-radicalisation, we must invest more in the creative industries,” said Fahd.
Fahd said that he has always been interested in entrepreneurship, but that it was his Monash master's degree that really got him on the path to where he is today. He said he found the course “was an eye opener.”
Talking about the impact that Monash academics and their research had had on his own interests and career development, he said, “I remember a paper in Dr. Gu‘s class about ‘Social Media as the New Battleground in Indonesian Politics', and that was the trigger for me to set up Digitroops Indonesia, an agency that provides strategic social media services for government institutions, politicians, political parties and companies.”
“I also remember that Associate Professor Pete Lentini's lectures gave me ideas that in order to fight extremism and terrorism, we could use art, community development, and also the creative industries, and so that is what I did after I graduated from Monash,” he added.
So what is next for Fahd Pahdepie?
“I want to make a movie. So far, I think the movie is the highest achievement in creative work. I believe that I can spread more messages and reach more audiences with movies. I want to inspire as many people as I can, and that is what inspires and motivates me to do the best in my life,” said Fahd.
So watch this space, we're sure we'll hear more from this dynamic Monash graduate in the future, and we congratulate him for his well deserved award.
Fahd's award was presented to him along with other recipients of the 2017 Alumni Awards at a prestigious Alumni Annual Gala Dinner in Jakarta on the 18th March, 2017.