[Professional Fellows Program spring ’15] Lia Wulandari: Exploring solutions to challenges in Indonesia
ACYPL brought me to Minnesota during the Professional Fellows Program and I spent my fellowship at the Hennepin County Election Office and met many humble people who are dedicated to their work.
I discovered how the political, electoral, and local government systems work together in Hennepin County. I was amazed to see how these systems are built on transparency and allow citizens to participate in the political process by giving feedback to the government. I also found it interesting that citizens had access to government reports and documents. Through these experiences, I was able to explore alternative solutions to improve these systems in Indonesia.
I am used to working on a national level in Indonesia, but having the opportunity to work on the local level in Hennepin County gave me a new perspective on how to manage people and navigate technical issues. I learned a lot from Election Office Manager Ginny Gelms and I witnessed how she managed her staff and the importance of creating personal connections with your coworkers.
While in Minnesota I had opportunities to share my point of view with the election office staff, Hennepin County council members, the secretary of state, and representatives from the election office at the city level. I met so many people from Hennepin County that are dedicated to public service and I found their passion to help others really intriguing because their salaries do not adequately reflect their work.
I was able to see all of this, as well as experience the exceptionally friendly people of Minnesota and visit some great places. Mike Opat, my mentor, took our group to Target Field to watch the Minnesota Twins, and Chas Andersen took us to Duluth to see Lake Superior. Both were incredible experiences I will never forget!
Lia Wulandari is the Program Manager for Research and Advocacy at Perludem Association for Election and Democracy in Indonesia.