Oak Ridge Promotes Sustainable Management and Conservation through Department of State Exchange

May 21, 2018

The City of Oak Ridge is currently hosting Hadi Yoga Dewanto, a government official specializing in marine conservation and cooperative projects in sustainable ecosystems at the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries Affairs in the Republic of Indonesia. The International City/County Management Association (ICMA), with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), offers the Professional Fellows Program under the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). This two-way exchange embraces the power of individual citizens to find creative solutions to challenges they face in their home communities.

During his month-long fellowship, Mr. Dewanto is getting a chance to see how our municipal government operates, from Public Works water quality initiatives to the Community Development City Blueprint project and Recreation and Parks environmental stewardship. He will also learn how institutions, non-profits and other government agencies work together to manage natural resources. He will tour the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s aquatic ecology lab, take a boat tour with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to learn about the Clinch River’s biodiversity, and meet with fisheries professors from the University of Tennessee to learn about urban stream channel restoration.

Mr. Dewanto has also been experiencing true Tennessee volunteerism by meeting with local non-profit leaders and citizens to learn how our enthusiastic community gives back to the environment that they love so much. His experiences include an overview of recycling efforts by Keep Anderson County Beautiful, trail maintenance of the Clinch Valley Trail Alliance, and fisheries management of the local Clinch River chapter of Trout Unlimited. He has also given a presentation for the Rotary Club about how individual efforts contribute to global goals, and will be doing a little volunteer work of his own at the Public Works Open House Event on May 24.

“To see how the community, city government, federal institution, and private entities interact and work together to conserve and preserve the natural environment in Oak Ridge is fascinating,” Mr. Dewanto said. “The community in Oak Ridge has set a very good example on public participation and contribution in managing natural resources. I am excited to share this experience and adopt the lessons learned to increase more public engagement in marine resources management in Indonesia.”

“The opportunity to host a professional management fellow through the YSEALI program has been a source of inspiration to our Oak Ridge staff as we have pointed out the many unique assets of our community that we sometimes take for granted,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson added. “Playing host to these future leaders in Southeast Asia offers a view of our city services that allows our public employees to recognize the importance of what they do and obtain new ideas from our visitors like Hadi Yoga Dewanto from Indonesia.”

“We are excited to host Mr. Dewanto and show him some of the unique environmental efforts and cultural richness that Oak Ridge has to offer. Mr. Dewanto is a very ambitious leader in Indonesia, and we feel honored to be able to exchange ideas and collaborate to strengthen both of our programs,” said Amy Snyder, City of Oak Ridge Stormwater Program Coordinator, who is also serving as Mr. Dewanto’s host during his time in Oak Ridge.

The City of Oak Ridge is one of approximately 20 cities across the nation asked to host a Professional Fellow this session. This is the fourth delegation to be hosted by Oak Ridge. At the conclusion of the program, April 28 through May 26, 2018, all fellows will gather in Washington, D.C., for the Professional Fellows Congress, a three-day concluding event aimed at preparing fellows to implement follow-up projects after their return home and allowing them to network with colleagues from around the world.

Since 2010, ICMA has received awards to manage the Professional Fellows Program funded by the U.S. State Department. The overall goal of the program is to create a global network of emerging local government leaders to positively impact practices at their organizations and in their communities by enriching their leadership skills and cultural understanding and by providing opportunities for knowledge exchange and ongoing collaboration.