The program calls for Indonesian 3rd or final year students and fresh graduates (bachelor and masters) to submit an essay on environmental issues.

This competition is fully organized in English.

Indonesian Young Thought Leaders on Environment 2019 is a mentorship program aimed to transform young individuals with knowledge, expertise and passions into agents of change in promoting evidence-based policies to protect environment and improve lives.

The program is organized by the World Resources Institute Indonesia (WRI Indonesia) in partnership with the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI) since 2015. Starting this year, this program is also supported by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)'s Anti-corruption Learning Center (ACLC).

Call for essay: January 25th – March 5th, 2019

The program calls for Indonesian 3rd and final year students or fresh graduates (bachelor and masters) to submit an essay on corruption in natural resources sector. The essay competition will be followed by leadership training camp and internship at the World Resources Institute offices in Jakarta and Washington DC.

Check your eligibility

  • To be eligible, you must fulfil all of the following criteria:

  • 18 – 26 years old;

  • Third or final year students in a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme in any field of study OR within one year after graduation from a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme;

  • Hold Indonesian citizenship;

  • Available to be in Jakarta for the Thought-Leaders Camp as part of the selection process (only for the top 20 individuals).


Following the essay competition, top 20 individuals will be invited to participate in a thought-leadership camp where participants will receive trainings from sustainable development experts. Top 3 finalists will get a chance to join an internship program at WRI Indonesia, and the winner will spend one month in WRI Washington DC for an internship program. All cost associated with these activities will be borne by WRI Indonesia.

Essay prompt

Indonesia is home to abundant natural resources, including rainforests, peatland, geothermal energy, wildlife and marine species. And yet, massive exploitation of such natural resources has left irreversible damages to the environment, economy, and the communities. Research suggested that exploitation of natural resources are closely linked to corruption. That could mean unrecorded exploitation activities, extraction without license, provision of licenses in protected areas, and more. Issues such as weak land governance, weak monitoring and poor transparency have contributed to the corruption in this sector.

In the forestry sector, for instance, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) recorded 77-81 percent of unreported or illegally sourced timber from 2003 to 2014. This is equal to more than 2.3 million hectares of deforestation, an area 32 times the size of Singapore. KPK further suggests that such unreported activities cost the country $6.5-9 billion in uncollected non-tax revenues, more than a quarter of the country’s infrastructure budget for 2018. In 2015, KPK started facilitating a National Movement to Save Natural Resources (GNSDA) to solve issues in natural resources management and to increase state’s revenue for people’s welfare.

As a citizen, we benefit greatly from our natural resources. Trees and forests around us give us clean air to breathe, prevent the cities we live in from flood, and provide a space for recreation. The exploitation of the forests, which is linked to corruption, denies our right to reap those benefits.

The 2019 IYTL on Environment program calls for passionate Indonesian youth to explore the linkage between exploitation of natural resources and corruption in one or more of these focus areas: Forestry, ocean and energy. You need to define what corruption means and how massive exploitation of natural resources is a form of corruption. Further, you need to elaborate how such corruption impacts the economy, environment, and people; and how the use of data and information can fight corruption in natural resources sector. In writing your essay, please choose a geographical area of your choice (e.g. cities, provinces, districts).

Essay criteria

  • Form: Essay (900-1200 words)

  • Language: English

  • Font: Arial/Times New Roman, Size 12

  • File type: Word document (.doc or .docx)

  • Deadline: 5 March 2019, 11.59 pm WIB - EXTENDED to 9 March 2019, 11.59pm WIB

  • Individuality: Individual work expected, no group work allowed

  • Citation: All sources must be cited and referred to the respective part in the essay

Essay submission

Submit your essay, scanned copy of identity card, and scanned copy of student card through this form.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to send my resume or curriculum vitae along with the essay? No. Since we are looking for a young thought-leader, your previous work and organizational relationship is not directly relevant at the first phase of the selection process. However, candidate might be asked to provide them at the later phase of the selection process.

2. Can I write my essay in Indonesian? No. All essays should be submitted in English, and is no longer than 1200 words. It is important that candidates have good command in English as winners would be taking the internship in an English-speaking environment.

3. What kind of essay would win the contest? We are looking for a data-driven proposal that is exhausted through a systematic thinking process. Candidates should feel free to go out of the box, although it needs to be justified through strong supporting arguments. Graphics and charts could be used in the essays to support your points.

4. How many winners will there be in this contest? The judges will select 20 best essays and we will invite the top 20 individuals to participate in a thought-leadership camp. Based on the results of the camp, 3 finalists will be selected to join the internship program at WRI Indonesia. Finally, we will send 1 winner to WRI Washington DC for a one-month internship program. All cost associated with these activities will be borne by WRI Indonesia.

5. If I’m selected, what can I expect to experience in the thought-leadership camp? During the three-day camp, not only that you will learn about environmental issues such as climate, forest, city governance and energy, but also undergo trainings that aims to enhance your writing, communications and research skill. You will also be assigned to work on real-case scenarios in the environment sector and present your proposal. At the end of the camp, the goal is that you can become youth ambassadors for sustainable development. You will also be exposed to experts and other passionate youth from all over Indonesia.

6. Is there a specific reading or person or organization I should talk to in order to understand more about the topic? It is always good to have the initiative. There are many environmental organizations in Indonesia, and you could always start by looking for resources in their websites. Our own and social media channels are some ideal treasure chests. Our recent blogpost might be a good start. For specific resources on corruption in natural resources sector you can visit KPK’s AACH website.

7. If I win, when will the internship be conducted? The internship in the WRI Indonesia office will tentatively be in mid-May to mid-June 2019 whereas the internship in WRI Washington DC will be in July-August 2019, depending on the availability of both the winners and the global office. In other words, it would be open for discussion.

Have more questions?

Feel free to reach out to Reidinar Juliane at for more information.