The Words of the McLackand Family

Jakarta Conference on National Character Building

Ursula McLackland
December 19, 2011
UPF -- Indonesia

Dr. Nurahama Hajat, M.Sci., Dean of the Faculty of Economics of UNJ, appointed Ambassador for Peace by Mrs. Ursula McLackland

Jakarta, Indonesia -- The Universal Peace Federation of Indonesia, in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics of the Universitas Negeri Jakarta (UNJ), organized an international seminar of the theme "National Character Building: Opportunities and Challenges" at the university on December 19.

The one-day conference brought together major stakeholders concerned with research, planning, and implementation of the Indonesian government's policy for National Character Building.

One hundred and eighty participants from three ministries (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Coordinating Ministry of People's Welfare) as well six universities and more than 20 schools discussed critical issues in conducting effective character education programs.

After the Indonesian National Anthem conducted by UNJ student Ricky Patria, in his Opening Remarks Mr. Zaenal Rafli, UNJ Vice Rector of Academic Affairs, emphasized the need for a positive, creative attitude in order to develop the nation. "We need to return to the original spirit and practice of Pancasila1, which was the deciding attitude for gaining Independence," he said.

The next speaker, Mr. Bondan Gunawan, former State Secretary Minister, encouraged everyone not to forget Indonesian history. "Indonesia gained independence not just by weapons but because of the spirit of unity which is the Indonesian national character," he said; "but it is being lost nowadays."

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Religious Affairs, Prof. Dedi Djubaedi, Director of Madrasah Education, called upon the participants to motivate others by talking about the solution, not the problem, and becoming a positive model. He listed five principles of integration: integration of the education environment; program integration; integration of cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains; integration of living values; and integration of funding.

Dr. Femmy Eka Karitka Putri, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Coordinating Ministry of People's Welfare, outlined the government vision and policy until 2045 for the implementation of Pancasila with the expectation to raise up responsible citizens starting from nursery school.

Prof. Dr. Budi Soetjipto, Director of the Indonesia Institute for Management Development, pointed out challenges faced by the management of multi-national companies in wisely bridging the gap between the parent company's corporate culture and the local norms and values.

Mrs. Ursula McLackland, Regional Secretary General of UPF-Asia, outlined the five basic elements of the UPF Character Education curriculum:

1. Based on virtues and ethical principles common to all cultures

2. The family is the first school of love.

3. Based on the three basic life goals (become person of good character, build loving relationships, and make a positive contribution to society)

4. Altruism is the organizing core virtue.

5. Home, school, and community are partners in character building.

The Master of Ceremonies, Ms. Premita Fifi, an Ambassador for Peace, read the Declaration for National Character Building. After amending the title to "Declaration for National Character Building Based on Pancasila and Indonesian Culture," the dignitaries took the lead in signing this important proclamation.

Students of UNJ entertained the participants with songs of peace and love for the nation throughout the lunch break.

The afternoon session on "Working Models of National Character Building" was moderated by Mr. Oscar Sinurat, Chairman of UPF-Indonesia. Mr. David McLackland, Education Director of UPF-Indonesia, presented a balanced education model in which the cultivation of character and teaching of norms is the foundation for mastery in other fields.

Dr. Stephanus Ngamanken, Lecturer at Bina Nusantara University, Atma Jaya and Continuous Improvement Manager, Yayasan Bunda Hati Khudus, emphasized that good communication skills and proper way of instruction are important for effective implementation of character building.

Mrs. Murni Astuti, Teacher at SMKN 37, explained the principles of building good character in students and the need for school, home, and society to work together.

During the interventions from the floor, it was suggested that there be an institution that is responsible for coordinating all the National Character Building efforts.

In his Closing Remarks, Dr. Payaman Simanjuntak, Vice-Chairman of the National Productivity Council, Committee on Productivity Promotion, asked all the participants to commit themselves to raising up future leaders of good character and integrity. The program concluded with a ceremony appointing 20 new Ambassadors for Peace.

A set of UPF's character education books was presented to Universitas Negeri Jakarta.

Declaration for National Character Building Based on Pancasila and Indonesian Culture

"If wealth is lost, nothing is lost. If health is lost, something is lost. But, if character is lost, everything is lost."

On the occasion of the International Conference organized by the Universal Peace Federation of Indonesia and the Faculty of Economics, Universitas Negeri Jakarta, on 'National Character Building: Opportunities and Challenges' on December 19, 2011 in support of the government policy for National Character Building, we affirm the following:

First, to counter the loss of traditional values, the breakdown of families and human relationships, increase in drug abuse, free sex and violence, corruption and human rights violations, there is a growing need for the concerted effort towards National Character Building by all stakeholders of government and civil society.

Second, National Character Building is the intentional effort to develop in young people core ethical values affirmed across all cultures and religions. To build good character, a person must know the good, desire the good, and do the good until it becomes a habit.

Third, altruistic love – love for the benefit of others – is the core virtue from which all other virtues such as honesty, integrity, responsibility, respect, compassion, etc., emanate.

Fourth, the objective of Character Education is to help a person realize three basic life goals: first, to become a person of good character; second, to build healthy relationships and a loving family; and third, to make a positive contribution to society.

Fifth, the family serves as the primary school of love and ethics as we learn to love, respect, and serve others, first of all, in the family. By strengthening marriage and family, we can educate our children to respect all people, build healthy relationships and become responsible citizens.

Sixth, the family, school, and society must work together to create the necessary support system for Character Education conducted in schools and universities to be effective: Lessons learned in class need to be reinforced in daily life experience.

Seventh, as parents, teachers, and leaders, we aspire to be the role models for our young people to look up to and emulate universal virtues and values.

Declared this 19st day of December 2011, Jakarta, Indonesia.


1 Pancasila is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Old Javanese words, "pañca" meaning five, and "sila" meaning principles. It comprises five principles held to be inseparable and interrelated:

Belief in the one and only God

Just and civilized humanity

The unity of Indonesia

Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations among representatives

Social justice for all of the people of Indonesia 

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