Prof. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – widely known as “SBY” – was the sixth President of the Republic of Indonesia. He served two terms in office. The first term commenced from 2004 to 2009 and the second term from 2009 to 2014.
Born in Pacitan, East Java, on 9 September 1949, President Yudhoyono has a number of self-transformations: from student to soldier, soldier to reformist general, 4-stars general to cabinet Minister, Minister to politician, and politician to President. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1973 at the top of his class. He quickly rose through the ranks in the army – earning him the reputation as “a thinking General” with strong reformist credentials. He served a distinguished military career, which included a tour as chief of the United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
After retiring early from the military service in 1999, he was appointed as Minister of Mining and Energy. He then served as Coordinating Minister for Political, Social, and Security Affairs in the National Unity Cabinet under President Abdurrahman Wahid (2000-2001). He was re-appointed as Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs under President Megawati Soekarnoputri (2001-2004). In the aftermath of 2002 Bali bombing, SBY established a reputation as Indonesia’s “anti-terrorism tsar”.
President Yudhoyono has an extensive academic background. While joining the US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, he completed his Master Degree in Management from Webster University in St. Louis, US in 1991. In addition, in the midst of running his Presidential campaign, he completed his Doctorate Degree in Agricultural Economics from Bogor Institute of Agriculture in 2004.
President Yudhoyono’s commitment to peace and stability in Indonesia and abroad is unequivocal. He successfully pursued a peaceful political solution to resolve the 30-year separatist conflict in Aceh, which led to a historic peace deal in 2005. He also injected new vigor into political reforms and public policies, as well as advanced decentralization to bring about tangible progress and development in Papua.
For his leadership, Yudhoyono was placed among the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009 by Time Magazine in May 2009. Former President Yudhoyono has placed the environment at the top of his national and foreign policy agenda, arguably making him the most “green” President in Indonesia’s modern history. His development mantra is the four tracks of “pro-growth, pro-job, pro-poor, pro-environment”. Consequently, Yudhoyono introduced strict environ-mental laws which oblige development activities to follow high and strict environmental standards.
President Yudhoyono became very active on global diplomacy on climate change. In 2007, Indonesia successfully hosted the Conference of Parties (COP) 13 – known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – in Bali.
In July 2008, President Yudhoyono created the National Council on Climate Change that he chaired with two senior coordinating ministers as vice chairs and 17 Ministers as members.
President Yudhoyono has also been a strong advocate of sustainable forestry. In 2009 President Yudhoyono launched a national campaign to plant 1 billion trees. The campaign succeeded in planting some 3.5 billion trees in just 3 years.
In 2012, President Yudhoyono was appointed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as Co-Chair of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 Development Agenda. The other Co-Chairs were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom.
As an intellectual and prolific writer, Former President Yudhoyono has authored a number of books and articles. Among his writings are: Revitalisasi Ekonomi Indonesia: Business, Politics and Good Governance (Revitalizing Indonesia’s Economy: Business, Politics and Good Governance) published by Brighten Institute in 2002 and Mengatasi Krisis-Menyelamatkan Reformasi (Coping with the Crisis – Securing the Reform), published by Puskap in 1999. As an eloquent speaker, Former President Yudhoyono has injected fresh ideas on a wide range of issues, from harmony among civilizations at JFK School of Government, Harvard University 2009, to geopolitical architecture at Shangri-La Dialogue 2012, and Sustainable Growth with Equity at CIFOR headquarter in Bogor 2012.