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developing global trade leaders
through trade career development

Putro Agus Harnowo

Gresik, East Java – Indonesia

Hong Kong Baptist University

MA in International Journalism Studies

Work & internships

Employer: Hinrich Foundation

Awards & citations

Hinrich Global Trade Leaders Scholarship (2017)

Previous university & major(s)

Gadjah Mada University – Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) (2012)

Scholar status

New scholar – Class of 2017

Read my story here

My first thought when I learned I was awarded this scholarship

I never thought that the selection process would be so fast. I was discussing my scholarship application with my country director, who had earlier given me a recommendation letter for that purpose, when I got the email from Ms. Thuy Ho and Mr. Alex Boome saying I had been chosen. The first person I called was my mother who burst into tears as she heard the good news.

Why I’m interested in trade

Trade can help bring developed and developing countries together, especially since fair trade allows for countries to benefit and form a healthy relationship. If we are able to do business with other nations regardless of their culture, religion, or socioeconomic background, then we can create an inclusive economy. Having equal opportunity is critical for participants in the economy – from workers to business owners to consumers – to experience sustainable growth.

What this scholarship opportunity means to me

My interest in media and communication was sparked when I was in high school. For my undergraduate study, I enrolled in psychology because I was eager to learn about human behavior. Prior to getting my diploma, however, I became actively involved in the field of journalism and communication, and it has since become my career.

I have always wanted to deepen my knowledge of media and communication academically. I hope to obtain a scientific approach to understanding social phenomena. Therefore, receiving this scholarship is like a dream come true for me.

The international experiences I’m most looking forward to

I would like to learn Cantonese and Mandarin because they are among the most widely spoken languages in the world, and China is a prominent global business player. I would also like to observe Hong Kong’s culture and how it maintains its economic advantage globally. I think it would also be great to meet people from other countries.

What I’ll bring to my dorm to remind me of home and why

I am a light traveler so I will only bring necessary items with me abroad. It would be better for me to bring home something from another country to recall priceless experiences. After all, simply calling my family will always remind me of home.

My favorite hobbies and other interests

My hobbies are hiking and camping. I also currently enjoy making a quick sketch of the places I visit. The other thing I am passionate about is visual arts.

My proudest achievement so far in life

I am proud to be selected as an awardee of the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholarship to study international journalism in Hong Kong, Asia’s global business hub.

The largest obstacle I’ve overcome so far in life

The largest obstacle I have had to overcome was financing my own undergraduate study. Thanks to affordable public university, I was able to earn my degree.

My future goals and aspirations

I intend to enhance my analytical skills and conduct research on media issues. Media and communication are necessary to close the gap between research and policy formulation. Supported with data, public and civil society organizations can make use of communication strategies to influence policymakers.

How I plan to give back and help others

I would like to continue my career in the development sector as a communications practitioner. To ensure a program creates an impact, development workers have to build relationships with other interest groups, journalists, policymakers, scholars, and members of the community. This can be done with communication strategies, such us sharing stories through blogs, tweets, videos, and other interpersonal or interdepartmental approaches.

Personal statement

I spent my teenage years watching how Indonesian activists and journalists came together to end the authoritarian regime in 1998, and Indonesia embarked on a new phase called Reformation. The mass media industry was also growing rapidly, which led to greater freedom of the press. Under these circumstances, my passion for journalism was sparked, especially when I joined the student press.

From the time I started working as a digital journalist, I have witnessed how the media industry has been disrupted by digitization, and it made me realize that the era of traditional mass media may have been upended. By widening my knowledge as a media scholar, I can contribute to creating a more inclusive and digitized society.

Story about Putro Agus Harnowo

I am a communications professional with several years of experience in journalism, media monitoring, social media, success story writing, graphic design, photography, videography, and events management.

Prior to receiving the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholarship, I was a communication officer at the Helen Keller International – Indonesia, a non-governmental organization (NGO). My main responsibility was the execution of the group’s communication strategies throughout the country.

Although I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, I still pursued a career in media and journalism. I joined the college student press as a graphic designer in my first semester and was promoted to Chief of Production a year after. During the last semester, I landed a job as a news contributor at Detik.com, the first and biggest online media in Indonesia.

After serving as a journalist for more than two years, I worked in the oil and gas industry as a business creative specialist. I was in charge of developing creative concepts for corporate branding; writing reports on media coverage data; and creating articles and layouts for different channels. However, I felt an inner calling to use my knowledge for the development of society. Hence, I joined an NGO.

My years of working in the development sector taught me the concept of behavior change communication. This strategy is widely used to improve health and social outcomes in the community, and has already been proven successful. I am planning to become a professional in this field of communication. I aim to develop a scientific approach with my formal background in psychology and my experiential knowledge of media and communication.