While the scholarships form the core of the activities of the VDMS, we also developed courses to complement the formal programs of the Indonesian universities. As such, we mention the ‘leadership conferences’, and the ‘regional meetings’. Further, a special place are devoted to the ‘projects’, since these are focused on students from SMA’s and SMK’s. Outstanding experts, coming from Indonesia and outside, are the main contributors to our courses, which will described in more detail below:
Once a year, a leadership conference (LC) will take place. The program of such a conference consists of interactive lectures about good and bad leadership; exercises about leading, following and finding ways for cooperation; lectures and exercises to know oneself and the other person, and a visit to a local organization. This program will be broadened from ‘leadership’ to the more encompassing ‘citizen ship’, which entails lectures and information to become an active, productive and successful member of the society. Critical thinking and writing are components too. In general, the conference will take one week at a relatively isolated place in order to give the students the opportunity to focus themselves on the topics concerned and on the fellow-students. About 16 VDMS students who are in their 3rd and 4th year participate in a LC. The selection is based on three criteria: sense of leadership, motivation and knowledge of the concept of a sustainable society. In 2016, the LC was kept in Yogyakarta.
Each year, several Regional Meetings (RMs) take place, one in each of the different regions where our partner-universities reside. A VDMS student should have the possibility to visit at least one RM during his/her education, which implies that the RMs have a frequency of about three per year. Also the Person in Charge (PICs) for the VDMS at the universities and the alumni are invited. The program consists of lectures and exercises which focus on the development and strengthening of the cooperation among the students and with the staff of the universities. Network development is stimulated too. Problems of the students are discussed in (sub) groups during the RM and solutions are developed. Ways to increase the possibility of getting a job in the future are a topic as well. The RMs take mostly two adjacent days. There is no selection process. In 2015 and 2016, RMs were present in Semarang, Manado, Padang, Ambon, Kupang, Surabaya and Manado.