“We want to forge new ties and greater understanding between the young people in this young country” were the impressionable words President Barack Obama left with the students on November 10, 2010 when he visited the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. Fifteen months later, Cisco partners with the Networking Academy and the university to host a weeklong hands-on technical training and soft skill development event on the same campus, where it almost seems Obama’s vision was coming to life, literally.
This event is called Developing Local Talent in Technology (DLTT), which started in 2009 by Middle Eastern Diversity & Inclusion (MEDI) with the intention for Cisco to build strong partnership with Universities and local communities, to share professional knowledge through volunteerism, to create a future talent pool and workforce, to create global collaboration with wider impact, and to gain cross-cultural experiences and exposure in an effort to cultivate a company culture of Diversity and Inclusion. As part of Employee Resource Group (ERG), MEDI’s DLTT supports ERG’s three pillars:
- Business Development—Help to drive a closer customer engagement,
- Talent Recruitment—Provide an avenue for future talent pipeline, and
- Professional & Leadership Development—Facilitate self-development of its members.
DLTT Indonesia took place over the course of five days from February 7 to February 11, 2012 as participants were trained in IP Telephony, Cisco Wireless, Network Security, Professional Development, and Cisco Trends. The last DLTT took place in Instanbul back in September of last year with a successful turnout and participation, but it seems DLTT sets new records in Indonesia. The program class size was increased to 150 in order to accommodate the overwhelmingly large application pool (only 43% who applied were accepted). Unexpectedly, more than 43 volunteers worked day and night (until 10pm every night) to handle the logistics of the event, transportation and accommodation details, and lab equipments.
In addition to the extremely hospitable and gracious hosts of the Networking Academy and University of Indonesia, VIPs such as the US ambassador, the Cisco country manager for Indonesia, the Public Affairs Officers of the US Embassy, and many more important guests were present at the opening ceremony for DLTT Indonesia. Never before has so many key players been so eager to volunteer their time in the name of Inclusion & Diversity and to help form global business partnership.
DLTT Indonesia brought about a great learning opportunity for not only the students, but also Cisco employees. While students learned some career development strategies and important technical skills that will help them power their country’s economy in the future, the Cisco employees learned a little bit about the Indonesian culture and some of the country’s needs and challenges—one great example is how the country manager shared that the mobile and wireless market in Indonesia is growing rapidly, and the government is making it a priority to ensure quality mobile services and fast responses in case disaster communication is needed in dire times (certainly a key takeaway that helped Cisco understand some of Indonesia’s major business needs).
Many lessons were learned, valuable experiences gained, and most importantly, cross-cultural friendships formed. Want to know what DLTT has in store next? Please stay tune for later on this year, as MEDI works diligently toward the next DLTT!
Meanwhile, some fun cultural takeaways from Indonesia:
- The use of the left hand is not considered appropriate or respectful for certain interactions in Indonesia, so consider limiting the use of your left hand to pass money and food or shake hands
- When visiting a mosque or temple, cover up as much as possible. Entry may be denied if your shoulders or legs are uncovered
- Touching the heads of people (even children) is considered offensive
- “Terima kasih” is Bahasa for “thank you”