Muhammad Fathun is a co-founder of The Leader, a youth organization in Indonesia (more information at www.the-leader.org ). Muhammad and nine other friends founded this organization to create far reaching positive change through youth engagement from individual communities at a global level. The Leader focuses on youth empowerment through education, peace and conflict resolution, disaster preparedness, and entrepreneurship. They provide classes and curriculum for those ages 15-30 to learn about leadership, public speaking, communication skills, activism, and how to be agents of social change. This organization is based in Aceh, a western part of Indonesia that has experienced long term armed conflict and was significantly impacted by a mega tsunami in 2004. Bringing hope after devastation is a key component of the organization’s core belief, which is “we don’t want to be remembered as victims, we want to be known as survivors”. The Leader’s ambition is to empower youth through resources to actualize their true potential and live up to their dreams after catastrophe. Currently, The Leader has trained and worked with more than 5,000 youths in 11 districts of Aceh and within 6 provinces of Indonesia.
In 2014, The Leader was awarded with Indonesia MDGs (the Millennium Development Goals) education category, and in 2015 Muhammad and his team was selected as first runner up for Pemilihan Organisasi Kepemudaan Berprestasi Nasional (Outstanding Youth Organization) by Indonesia Ministry of Sport and Youth, for their effort and will to empower youth in Indonesia.
Muhammad’s latest project, in collaboration with a friend, is the Youth Coalition for Sustainable Peace: Sustaining Peace from Schools to Communities. Their project is supported by the United States Embassy in Jakarta and was conducted in the five post conflict provinces of Sabang (Aceh), Ambon (Maluku), Poso (Central Sulawesi), Ternate (North Maluku), and Makassar (South Sulawesi). Their aim is to engage 150 student leaders ages 15-18 and enable their active involvement in bridging differences and resolving conflict in constructive ways that positively transform their local communities. The overarching goal of this project is to prevent future violent conflict and promote safety by strengthening the problem solving skills of youths who could become future local leaders and influencers.
Muhammad represented Indonesia across Japan and Southeast Asia as a participant on the 38th Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Exchange Program (SSEAYP), which gave him a personal connection in overcoming cultural differences. He has further utilized this in his work, stressing the need for collaboration among diverse individuals. Muhammad has also represented Indonesia at the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Generation: Go NGO! Workshop 2016 that was held by the United States Department of State and Cultural Vistas. Additionally, Fathun participated in UNLEASH Singapore 2018, a global innovation lab for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
These collective experiences have both prepared and influenced Muhammad ’s passion for a career in local and regional leadership.