Building U.S.-Indonesia Mutual Understanding Since 1994

Women as Change Agents in the United States and Indonesia

January 24, 2018 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm UTC+7


Pacific Place Mall, Level 3 SCBD, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman Kav. 52-53, Jakarta Selatan, 12190

Organized By

USINDO – US Embassy Jakarta

are pleased to invite you to a Special Open Forum on:

Women as Change Agents in the United States and Indonesia



Moderated by:



Wednesday, January 24, 2018

14:00 – 15:30

(Registration starts at 13:30)




Pacific Place Mall, Level 3 SCBD, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman

Kav. 52-53, Jakarta Selatan, 12190


In an uncertain world, all sectors and demographics need to contribute to generating a hopeful trajectory for the future. It is vital to reflect on women leaders, as a specific group, and how they can influence social and economic changes for the better in Indonesia and the United States for 2018 and beyond. In both countries, women have risen to positions of leadership across sectors. According to Grant Thornton, Indonesia has the highest senior business roles held by women in ASEAN at 46% in 2017. In the United States, women own about 30 percent of small businesses, generating more than $1 trillion a year in sales.

For this panel, influential women leaders from diverse sectors will talk about their work and leadership roles. The panel will discuss the importance of women’s voices, how women can contribute to social change, the persistent challenges to women’s empowerment and leadership in Indonesia and the United States, what can be done to inspire the next generation of women to participate in challenging the status quo, and how Indonesia and the United States can synergize to cultivate a strong collective of women change agents. We will also touch upon the ways that institutions can carve space for women leaders: what kinds of structures need to be in place for women to be able to achieve their leadership goals in society?

The United States-Indonesia Society (USINDO), in cooperation with U.S. Embassy Jakarta is delighted to host Susan A. Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Yenny Wahid, Executive Director of the Wahid Foundation and Indonesian Co-Chair of Indonesia-US Council on Religion and Pluralism; and Nilam Sari, Owner and Marketing Director of Kebab Turki Baba Rafi, Co-Owner of Voila! 360’ Communication Agency. The panel will be moderated by Titi Anggraini, Executive Director of the Association for Election and Democracy (PERLUDEM). Please join us for an engaging discussion.

To register, please kindly RSVP HERE, or email to no later than January 23, 2018 at 5:00 PM to attend this Special Open Forum.


Speakers’ Bio:

Susan A. Thornton is the Acting Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary after serving for a year and a half as Deputy Assistant Secretary. A career-member of the United States Foreign Service, Ms. Thornton joined the State Department in 1991 and has spent the last twenty years working on U.S. policy in Eurasia, focused on the countries of the former Soviet Union and East Asia. As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Ms. Thornton is responsible for policy related to China, Mongolia, and Taiwan. Previous Foreign Service assignments include Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan, Deputy Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the State Department in Washington, Economic Unit Chief in the Office of Korean Affairs, and overseas postings in Beijing, Chengdu, Yerevan and Almaty. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Thornton worked at the Foreign Policy Institute in Washington, DC, where she researched and wrote about Soviet bureaucratic politics and contemporary Russia. She speaks Russian and Mandarin Chinese.

 Yenny Wahid is the Executive Director of Wahid Foundation, which champions the humanitarian vision of former president Abdurrahman Wahid in advancing the development of tolerant, multicultural, democratic, and non-violent society in Indonesia, as well as the Indonesian Co-Chair for the Indonesia-U.S. Council on Religion and Pluralism. She is a social and political activist who works to promote peace and tolerance. Her family’s influence within Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) enables her to work effectively on the grassroots level. Her past work experiences include working as an Assistant Correspondent for Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age Melbourne, and as Special Staff for the 6th President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. She received many awards and accolades such as the Australian Walkley Award, for her coverage of conflict in East Timor and Champion of Children Award from UNICEF for her work promoting children’s rights. Now, Ms. Wahid prefers to focus on her work to promote peace on the grassroots by trying to empower many marginalized women through her foundation. Ms. Wahid received her graduate degree at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Nilam Sari is the Owner and Marketing Director of PT Baba Rafi Indonesia, boasting the world’s biggest kebab franchise business chain with more than 1200 outlets of Kebab Turki Baba Rafi in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Netherland. Ms. Sari did not let Baba Rafi’s humble beginnings in Surabaya – which included a principal investment of Rp 4 million and a cart – determine the business’ destiny. From there, a homespun business venture turned into an international achievement. Currently, Ms. Sari is also the Co-Owner of Voila! 360’ Communication Agency, working with big-name clients including Sampoerna, ANZ, Mandiri Bank, and Honda. In 2012, she was awarded the Young Caring Professional Award by Caring Colours, Martha Tilaar for caring about her workplace and the environment. She represented Indonesia at the 2017 Fortune – U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership, which connects talented, emerging women leaders from all over the world with members of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Leaders for a four-week program. She initially pursued her bachelor’s degree at Airlangga University and completed it at IPMI School of Business.

Titi Anggraini (Moderator) is the Executive Director of The Association for Elections and Democracy (PERLUDEM). Built in 2015, PERLUDEM is a social organization dedicated to Indonesian elections and democracy through research, advocacy, monitoring, education, and trainin. In 2016, PERLUDEM’s API Pemilu Election Programming Interface was awarded the Silver Award in the Third Annual Open Government Awards in Paris, France. In 2017, she was appointed as one of the Democracy Ambassadors to champion study on Global State of Democracy by International IDEA, a think-tank organization based in Stockholm, Sweden. Ms. Anggraini was appointed alongside other prominent figures, such as former president of Latvia, Vaira Vike Freiberga, and former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chincilla. She completed her master’s degree in the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia.