Presidential Material
    Category: Issues & Ideas By : Scott Younger Read : 927 Date : Saturday, September 10, 2016 - 07:21:23

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    In addition to being a Forbes Indonesia columnist, I was recently honored with an appointment to be the International Chancellor of President University. It is an exciting new direction for myself and the university. This privately owned university was established nearly 15 years ago by entrepreneur SD Darmono, a founder of the Jababeka Industrial Estate (home to 1,500 companies). The university now has about 5,000 students, both Indonesian and international. The university has just announced ambitious plans to multiply its student body by many times, maintaining its broad national and international ambience, which is part of my mandate as international chancellor. At the same time, President University plans to expand its range of faculties that are fundamental to the sustainable development objectives vital to the needs of many countries not just in Asia but elsewhere across the world. 

    It also wants to set up international partnerships. Currently there are four schools at the university: (1) Business (including accounting), (2) Computer science, (3) Humanities (including law and international relations) and (4) Engineering. The university is led by Jony Haryanto, its newly appointed rector. English is the main language of the university, deliberately adopted for all academic communications, and fitting into the adopted core language of ASEAN and international diplomacy. 

    My personal journey from Scotland to International Chancellor of President University is long and intriguing. Below are highlights of some steps along the way. I was originally educated as a civil engineer at Glasgow University and later chartered by the Institution of Civil Engineers. Engineering was in my family genes, as both my father John (mechanical-1926) and grandfather Scott (naval architect-1889) were engineers, and both also graduates of the famed Glasgow University. The family business in Glasgow made sugar machinery for countries across the world from the mid 19th century, part of the Glasgow engineering heritage. 

    Civil engineering as a profession was only recognized after 1815, which led to the foundation of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1818. Today many of the comforts of modern life can be directly ascribed to engineering, especially civil engineering. A classic example of civil engineering can be seen today at the site of three generational bridges crossing the River Forth east of Edinburgh, from the steel truss in the 1880s to the 1960s suspension bridge  to the cable stay bridge just being completed. 

    The future is in all forms of digital computer technology—mind-blowing for someone from the pre-computer age. The civil engineering profession has fully embraced the potential of technology to help solve complex problems, and this has allowed some astonishing developments for a whole range of engineering structures.