Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia (since Oct 20, 2014; on Apr 17, 2019 re-elected with 55.5% of the vote)
Joko Widodo is of Javanese descent. He is the eldest son of Noto Mihardjo and Sudjiatmi Notomihardjo. He has three younger sisters, named Iit Sriyantini, Ida Yati and Titik Relawati. Before changing his name (changes of name are not unusual in Java), Joko Widodo was called Mulyono. His father came from Karanganyar, his grandparents came from a village in Boyolali. His education started in State Primary School 111, Tirtoyoso, known for being a school for less wealthy citizens.
Due to financial difficulties in his childhood, he had to work his way through primary school to earn enough money for school materials and pocket money. At twelve, he started working in his father’s furniture workshop. The evictions he experienced three times in his childhood affected his way of thinking and his leadership later on as the mayor of Surakarta (Solo) as he organised housing in the city.
After primary school, he continued his studies in SMP Negeri 1 Surakarta (middle school). He had wanted to continue his education in SMA Negeri 1 Surakarta (high school), but he failed the entrance exam and went to SMA Negeri 6 Surakarta instead.
He continued his education in the Forestry Faculty of Gadjah Mada University. He made use of this chance to study the structure of wood, its utilisation, and its technology. He completed his degree with the thesis called: “Study on Plywood Consumption in Final Consumption in Surakarta municipality”.
After his graduation in 1985, he worked for BUMN PT Kertas Kraft Aceh and was placed in the area Hutan Pinus Merkusii di Dataran Tinggi Gayo, Middle Aceh. Nevertheless, he didn’t feel at home and went home to his wife, who was seven months pregnant. He was determined to work with wood in his uncle Miyono’s business named CV Roda Jati. In 1988, he started his own business under the name of CV Rakabu, referring to his first child (Rakabuming). The business was quite successful; however due to fraud, it had problems and was closed. In 1990, he tried again with money (Rp 30,000,000, around $16,000) borrowed from his mother.
According to The Economist, Jokowi “has a penchant for loud rock music” and once owned a bass guitar signed by a member of heavy-metal band Metallica. He claims to be a fan of Metallica, Lamb of God, Led Zeppelin, Napalm Death and Grindcore, a band that is known for their utilitarian, liberal political views. Napalm Death also congratulated the president on their Facebook fan page recently.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Former President of Indonesia
General (ret.) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, popularly known as SBY, was born in Pacitan, East Java, on 9 September 1949. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1973-top in his class. He received his fourth star in 2000. In the first-ever direct presidential election in Indonesia in 2004, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, running on a platform for “more just, more peaceful, more prosperous, and more democratic Indonesia”, was elected as the 6th President of the Republic of Indonesia, gaining a landslide 60% of the popular vote over the incumbent President Megawati Soekarnoputri.
President Yudhoyono is also an accomplished scholar. He was educated in the United States, where he received his Masters degree in Management from Webster University in 1991. He continued his study and earned a Doctorate Degree in Agricultural Economics from Bogor Institute of Agriculture, West Java, Indonesia, in 2004. President Yudhoyono was awarded with two honorary doctorates in 2005, respectively in the field of law from his alma mater, Webster University, and in political science from Thammasat University in Thailand.
During his 27-year distinguished military service, President Yudhoyono took an extensive range of training, education and courses, both in Indonesia and overseas. President Yudhoyono also held numerous important posts and positions as troop and territorial commander, staff officer, trainer and lecturer. He served both in the field and at headquarters, as well as missions overseas. He was the Commander of the United Nations Military Observers and Commander of the Indonesian Military Contingent in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1995-1996.
For his outstanding service, President Yudhoyono was decorated with 24 medals and awards, including the UNPKF Medal, the Bintang Dharma, the Bintang Mahaputera Adipurna and the Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna, the highest national medal for excellent service beyond the calls of duty.
Prior to being elected, President Yudhoyono held various important government positions, including Minister of Mining and Energy and Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Social, and Security Affairs in the National Unity Cabinet under President Abdurrahman Wahid. He again served as Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Social, and Security Affairs in the Gotong Royong Cabinet under President Megawati Soekarnoputri. It was in his capacity as Coordinating Minister that he became internationally recognized for leading Indonesia’s counter-terrorism efforts.
President Yudhoyono is also known for his activities in various civil society organizations. He served as Co-Chairman of the Governing Board of the Partnership for the Governance Reform, a joint Indonesian-international organization focused on the improvement of governance in Indonesia. He also served as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Brighten Institute, an institution devoted to studying the theory and practice of national development policy.
President Yudhoyono is a keen reader and has authored a number of books and articles including: Transforming Indonesia: Selected International Speeches (2005), Peace deal with Aceh is just a beginning (2005), The Making of a Hero (2005), Revitalization of the Indonesian Economy: Business, Politics and Good Governance (2002), and Coping with the Crisis – Securing the Reform (1999). Taman Kehidupan (Garden of Life) is his anthology published in 2004. President Yudhoyono speaks English fluently.
President Yudhoyono is a devoted Moslem. He is married to Madam Ani Herrawati. The first couple is blessed with two sons. The oldest is First Lieutenant Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, who graduated top in his class from the Military Academy in 2000 and is now serving at the elite 305th Airborne Battalion of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (KOSTRAD). The youngest, Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, earned his degree in Economics from Curtin University, Australia.