Farewell Message from ICONE’s Outgoing President, Olla Chas

Massachusetts, 12/20/2020 - This month marks the end of Olla Chas’s role as the President of ICONE. On behalf of ICONE and our community, we would like to thank her for her leadership, extraordinary work, and enduring commitment in shaping ICONE, empowering our community, and helping promote Indonesia for the past five years.

Her stewardship of ICONE has been characterized by her love for the community and the motherland Indonesia, her innovative ideas, strategic thinking, networks, and her passionate efforts to increase the credibility and visibility of ICONE as the umbrella entity for various coordinated Indonesian community initiatives. Her energy and devotion to the role will be difficult to match, but she leaves ICONE and our community on a strong footing for those who follow her.

We wish her all the very best in her future endeavors and we look forward to her ongoing involvement in our community.

Here is her farewell note to us.

Dear fellow ICONEans and friends,

I hope you are safe and well during this extraordinary time. After five years in my role as the President of the Indonesian Community of New England, Inc. (ICONE, Inc.) and with my term reaching its end on December 31, 2020, I would like to bid farewell to all of you. It has been an honor as well as an exciting and challenging experience serving and building our community by working alongside many of you.

When I was elected to lead ICONE, my intention was not only to make a difference but also to become a contributing community member in any and every way I could, all while working towards the missions of this amazing nonprofit organization. It is so gratifying to see how our community has become more united, stronger, and culturally accessible through ICONE’s various programs over the years. Some of the milestones that ICONE has accomplished during my tenure include:
    • Launched the first community-based Indonesian language course ever held in Boston, offered for 7 consecutive semesters with students from all over the New England region and beyond.
    • In collaboration with Permias MA, co-organized 5 New England Indonesian Festivals (NEIF) that has been known as one of the largest Indonesian festivals on the east coast.
    • Launched the Indonesian Storytelling Tour program at 3 local schools & libraries in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
    • Led 5 community fundraisers under the ICONEBerbagi program which include education supports to children and youth in need (orphans), Sunda Strait Tsunami relief, and food staple distribution to those impacted by COVID-19 in 3 cities in Indonesia.
    • Initiated various community empowerment programs that have collaborated with and promoted about 50 local Indonesian talents in different areas of expertise.
    • Organized 6 Indonesian food bazaars in Somersworth and Dover, New Hampshire, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    • Co-organized the Javanese shadow puppets and gamelan show at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology in Boston.
    • Organized 4 community discussions/sharing sessions in Boston with prominent Indonesian leaders including Mayor of Bandung, Vice Governor of Jakarta, CEO of GE, and a well-known comedian/public influencer.
    • Provided community assistance during COVID-19 through masks distribution and temporary storage for the displaced Indonesian students in collaboration with KJRI New York and Permias MA.
    • Promoted Indonesian culinary through 55 weeks of weekly Indonesian home-cooked meals program via online and food delivery to towns in the Massachusetts area.
    • Launched several online community resources including the “Education Corner” scholarship information hub, “New England Living” webpage, Interpreter Assistance Program, and “ICONEDataKita” census.
    • Created and maintained ICONE’s official website (www.icone-inc.org), Facebook page, and Instagram as the main communications channels to the community.
    • Other initiatives including ongoing assistance in employment findings/channels, Indonesian Independence Day celebration events, immigration/consular community gatherings with KJRI New York, Indonesian movie screenings, Balinese dance course, Indonesian cooking class, charity yard sales, and ongoing community supports.

There is still much to do, but collectively we have paved the way towards a more harmonious, resourceful, and resilient Indonesian-American community in New England and beyond.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you, especially my team, ICONE’s Board of Directors, and the countless extraordinary people from varying walks of life who have helped make all of this possible for our community here and in Indonesia. Special thank you as well to all the volunteers, donors, government officials, influencers, and partners, who have supported and collaborated with me and ICONE in making members of our community feel belonged, connected, and empowered. Know that even though I will not be in ICONE’s driving seat anymore, I will always be cheering you on and keep supporting our community in any way I can.

I wish you and your family a joyful, healthy, and peaceful holiday season. Let us all hope for a better 2021.

Warmest regards,
Olla Chas
Indonesian Community of New England, Inc.