By Lisa Bailey, Axiom News
Arif Hasyim viewed himself as a hardcore, climate-action individual focused on how to save the world before coming to study at Presidio Graduate School in 2011.
Pursuing dual degrees in sustainable management in business and public administration, he says he’s come to learn about and appreciate humility, leadership and the strength of community during his time at the school.
“I no longer focus on how to save the world, but really how to help people save the world,” Hasyim says.
He says there are many people who understand what the world needs but don’t have the capacity to accomplish it. With the knowledge and understanding he’s gained about many different cultures and values through his world travels, as well as his education, he feels he can now give and help others.
Hasyim says his ultimate goal is to help bridge the gap between business and government “because, at the end of the day, you have to work together” for a sustainable future. He believes the Presidio degrees in business and public administration can bring solid value to emerging markets, like that of his home country of Indonesia.
“Business effort is not going to work without good policy and good policy is not implemented from the business perspective if they cannot make money out of something; they’re reluctant to do it even though sometimes people would like to do it, but it’s always good incentive to say, ‘You don’t only save the world but you’re still making profit.’”
Hasyim learned about Presidio through one of its professors who worked with Al Gore’s. Trained as a presenter and helping to launch the cultural movement for action on the climate crisis in Indonesia, Hasyim was attending one of many meetings and conferences in the U.S. when he met the Presidio representative.
Hasyim, who was also involved in a biogas business venture, says he was pondering a return to school but being very selective as he was skeptical about the sustainability programs he assessed. “A lot of schools offer it as an elective,” he says. “It’s like giving one elective class and calling it a green MBA. I felt that was not enough.”
He discovered sustainability is integrated throughout Presidio’s programs. Another enlightening moment occurred during his very first day at PGS — as one of his professors outlined the course, she shared her passion for the environment and Ph.D. study on climate change. As a slide of a polar bear appeared, she began to cry.
“That was the point of no return because where else in the world can we have an accounting teacher really care about what’s going on with the environment? That was one of the a-ha moments,” Hasyim says.
Hasyim also appreciates the strong community atmosphere at Presidio, with a spirit of collaboration and connection amongst students, faculty as well as members of the community. “I really feel community is the strongest asset we have,” he says, noting the Bay area is a bubble percolating with access to and engagement of leaders and innovators.
Hasyim is growing a network for one of his interests around climate change— reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It’s an effort involving the United Nations, governments and others to create policy and incentive to keep forests standing in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as foster conservation and sustainable management practices. Hasyim says he’s interested in working with NGOs around the world on this effort, which includes Indonesian forest.
“At the end of the day, when it comes to climate change, it’s an issue for the world, and it’s really about the participation of everyone,” Hasyim says.
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