Challenging the Next Generation of Leaders: Tanoto Scholars Gathering 2017

The Tanoto Scholars Gathering (TSG) 2017 took place from November 22 to 25 this year at the Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) Complex in Pangkalan Kerinci, Sumatra in Indonesia. TSG 2017, which retained the “Learn and Lead” theme of previous TSG editions, saw the participation of 250 Tanoto Scholars from 21 universities across Indonesia.

The four-day event kicked off with an opening ceremony which was officiated by Tanoto Foundation Board of Trustees member Anderson Tanoto. In his welcome speech, Anderson said it was imperative for Indonesian products or brands to compete on a global scale. “In this regard, we believe that Indonesia is able to compete if it possesses great leaders,” he said, adding that the TSG is one of the organisation’s ways to support students in becoming future leaders of Indonesia.

Anderson also encouraged the scholars to embrace lifelong learning, to learn how to “lead oneself before leading others”, and to always care for the community (in the manner of “paying it forward”) – values which have been imparted to him since young by RGE Founder and Chairman Sukanto Tanoto. “Enjoy the activities organised during this gathering, and make use of the opportunities to improve your soft skills, as well as teamwork and leadership skills,” Anderson said, further reminding the students to network and learn from each other.

One highlight of this year’s TSG was a surprise inspirational talk by Rio Haryanto, Indonesia’s first and only Formula One driver.  Rio underscored the importance of discipline, determination and dedication in the pursuit of success.
“I think self-preparation is crucial, and it helps boost your confidence and ability to prove yourself when it is time to do so,” he told the scholars. He also urged the Tanoto Scholars to “turn any negativity and criticism into positives” and to use it as motivation instead to work even harder.

Over the four days, the scholars also listened to talks by the Editor-in-Chief at Bisnis Indonesia Hery Trianto and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) Director Kuswiyoto. They also learned about APRIL’s sustainability policy from the operations head, as well as RGE career pathways from the HR Department.

As with previous TSG events, the scholars also went on industrial visits to the Asian Agri palm oil plantation, the APRIL’s Kerinci Central Nursery and RGE Technology Center, and participated in soft skill training in the areas of public speaking and social media, art performances and an outward bound program. The scholars also engaged in community service activities including tree-planting and biopori making.

The Tanoto Foundation was established in 1981 by Sukanto Tanoto and his family to help reduce poverty and advance achievements, especially in the areas of education and health care. Every year, the Tanoto Foundation disburses scholarships to 460 university students, of which 250 are chosen to participate in the annual TSG event. Tanoto Foundation has handed out over 7,200 scholarships since its inception.