The Scholar of Sustainability
Introducing Dr. Anak Agung Gde Raka Dalem,M.Sc (Hons), Head of Upskill Study Program at Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia.
Hailing from the Peliatan region of Ubud, Dr. Anak Agung Gde Raka Dalem,M.Sc (Hons). has contributed to the development of Bali's sustainability and ecotourism for decades. He currently also serves as the lecturer and Head of Upskill program for the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences,at Udayana University, passionately welcoming every international student who would like to learn, engage and gain personal experience about the island's sustainability and unique 'Tri Hita Karana' aspect.
Anak Agung Raka Dalem finished his bachelor degree at Bogor Agricultural University and immediately continued to get his Master degree in University of Western Sydney, Australia. He then completed his highest education by getting his Doctoral degree in University of Udayana, Bali. "My thesis was discussing major ecotourism based on Balinese life philosophy of Tri Hita Karana," he recalls. AA Raka Dalem's passion in sustainability also led him to get deeply involved in implementing sustainability and ecotourism to the island. He is known as a part of Bali's Tourism Village Forum, which consists of 180 villages in total. Here, AA Raka Dalem took part in developing programs in order to achieve sustainability in the long term. Globally, he is also an integral part of Green Globe Asia Pacific Program and The EarthCheck Program, also the auditor of Tri Hita Karana awards.
Together with Upskill Study, AA Raka Dalem developed an engaging program for international students to come and learn about sustainability in Bali. "We expect the students from all over the world to benefit out of our unique program. Everybody might have heard about sustainability, but we offered a unique perspective through Balinese aspect of Tri Hita Karana within the program." he said. Raka Dalem also said that the student will get the chance to visit several specific institutions, such as Sustainable Tourism Observatory in Sanur, and learn about the said topic directly at the village level. "Students will understand more about what people have done about sustainability in Bali for the long term. They can learn its unique aspects and perhaps implement it in their own country after the study."
Further, Raka Dalem gave his explanation about Balinese 'Tri Hita Karana' concept that aligns with ecotourism and sustainability. "Tri Hita Karana concept consists mainly of goodness, happiness and wealth. The Balinese are supposed to keep their life in harmony and balance between their spiritual or cultural life, looking after the environment and creating good relationships with other people or community elements." He explains. "Those things should be in balance, and help Balinese and other people to achieve happiness in life. These are the aspects that we will explore and experience. If you want to experience this, you can come and join our program!"
When asked about how the response to this program has been for the past 3 years, AA Raka Dalem implies that he gets a lot of positive feedback from the alumni. "Most participants I think have experienced something unique from this program; either from a short course or semesters program," he stated. "Because as I mentioned before, Bali is quite unique in terms of local culture. This certainly brings impact to all aspects of learning; flooring the topic, the case study in the field, and the experience will give a new perspective about sustainability and probably the student's life as well."
The Upskill study program in Udayana University has created a wonderful experience for international students to learn and understand more about the unique aspects of sustainability and ecotourism in Bali. "Udayana is the most prominent university in Bali. We are in the highest rank across all the universities in Bali with 'Unggul / Kompetitif' (Superior) rank. This means we are the best university to have this kind of international study program" said Raka Dalem. So far, it's been so good for everyone involved. But what's in it for the future? Raka Dalem gives his simple but meaningful vision regarding it. "I hope that international students will keep on coming to Bali, not only to study, but also experience the uniqueness of this island, either in short courses or semester programs," he said. "This way, the program will benefit Bali in general. Economically, the international student will bring impact as well for the local businesses, and help everyone to achieve their goals in harmony" he concludes.
By Billy Bagus