[Kanal Media Unpad] Prof. Popy Rufaidah, SE., MBA., PhD, a professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business of Universitas Padjadjaran, was awarded the Star of Excellence Award from the America-Eurasia Center, Washington, D.C. With this, Prof. Popy, who is also the Education and Culture Attaché for the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Washington D.C., from December 2018 to September 2022, has also become the first Indonesian to have ever received this prestigious award.
The award was given by the President of the America-Eurasia Center, Dr. Gerard Janco, to the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Sade Bimantra. Sade Bimantra was representing Prof. Popy who had returned to Indonesia. The award was given at the America-Eurasia Center’s “Embassies of the World in Washington, DC, Special Cultural and Business Networking Event”, held at the Ven-Embassy Row, Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, 26 October 2022.
When interviewed by Kanal Media Unpad, Prof. Popy explained how the America-Eurasia Center, one of the oldest reputable think tanks in the United States, gave her the award for her efforts in strengthening the bond between the United States and Indonesia, and also uniting embassy officials of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the United States.
“This award is different from the ones before it. The America-Eurasia Center gave this award for the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia’s efforts in strengthening its bond with the United States through its Education and Culture Attachés. The embassy united the Education and Culture Attachés to form an Education and Culture Attaché Association for the whole of the United States in Washington, D.C.,” said Prof. Popy.
Prof. Popy was chosen to be awarded for her role as founder of the association. The association was built for the Education and Culture Attachés from various embassy offices in the United States.
Prof. Popy first spoke of this in a meeting held by the United States Department of State, specifically by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington, D.C., in early January 2020. Despite the pandemic, Prof. Popy’s efforts paid off.
On May 25, 2022, the Washington Educational & Cultural Attaché Association (WECAA) was formally established.
“The America-Eurasia Center appreciated the progress because there had never been an association quite like this,” said Prof. Popy, who then became WECAA’s first president. WECAA has then become a vessel to strengthen educational and cultural diplomacy between the United States and other countries.
Prof. Popy was both surprised and delighted to be the first Indonesian to have ever received this prestigious award. This award was generally bestowed to ambassadors and reputable companies in the United States. Prof. Popy herself finished her duties as the Education and Culture Attaché last September, 2022.
“I was so surprised to have received the news upon coming home. It was a nice ending to my career as an Education and Culture Attaché. Our efforts in the United States were appreciated after all,” said Prof. Popy.
Prof. Popy first carried out her duties as the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia’s Education and Culture Attaché in the United States in December 2018. Working as the Education and Culture Attaché had its challenges, one of them being convincing partners in the United States to collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology. The collaboration bore fruit, and cooperation with the United States was expanded significantly.
“Now, this is just a matter of being proactive. The United States values competence and excellence, so we must present those qualities in the best possible manner. The one with those qualities will be the one to strengthen the collaborative bond,” said Prof. Popy.
At this time, Prof. Popy is still an active advisor to the WECAA. She has also returned to her role as a professor of Marketing and Strategic Management in Universitas Padjadjaran’s Faculty of Economics and Business.
“I have since shared my four-year experiences of being in the United States to numerous parties in higher education and related institutions in Indonesia. Specifically, I shared our efforts in strengthening the cooperation between Indonesia and the United States,” she concluded.*