The Torch Theory of Youth Leadership in Nusantara Malay Archipelago: Four Typologies in Indonesian Cities

Mohammad Reevany Bustami, Taufan Teguh Akbari


The present discourse on leadership has been dominated by literature centred on the baby-boomers and even on the older cohorts. Yet, with the rise of the millennial generation and their influx into the various spaces within the society, be they economic, social or political, there are limited studies and established theories of youth leadership in this era.  Even more at stake is the draught of youth leadership theorizing based on home-grown communities, local identities and indigenous cultures.  This is especially true in the cultural space of Nusantara Malay Archipelago, where Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, southern Thailand and Philippines are situated. This article is based on a research to lay-down foundational constructs in order to address this empirical and theoretical vacuum.  The objective of the research is to examine the paradigms of youth leaders. The sample involves thirty-five (35) youth leaders of community-based organizations (CBOs), born between 1980 to 2000, from four major cities in Indonesia. It employs an abductive research strategy whereby the constructs are built from the informants’ own conceptualization of meanings and practices of leadership. Through analysis of in-depth interviews and organizational profiling, the authors discovered four typologies of youth leadership. They are namely Piningit (saviour), Penyatu (unifier), Perantau (explorer) and Pemberdaya (enabler), together they form what the authors term as the Torch theory of Nusantara Malay Archipelago youth leadership as these leadership models are based on local wisdom, cultural values and heritage of the archipelago.


Youth Leadership; Torch Leadership Model; Nusantara Malay Archipelago; Community-Based Organizations; Piningit, Perantau; Penyatu; Pemberdaya

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