Visiting on Campus
Leonardo Stoute has been visiting on campus during the past two weeks, meeting with faculty and staff and connecting with Yale students. Having spent the last several years in West Sumatra, Indonesia and traveling throughout Southeast Asia, Mr. Stoute brings a unique perspective to the challenges faced by those communities, as well as the unique potentials they have to offer. The Southeast Asia Studies Council invited Mr. Stoute to lead several events at the Yale International Center, exploring the regional culture of West Sumatra through a lecture and presentation, including video and photographic footage from his travels. The Board of Tourism and Culture in West Sumatra has used Mr. Stoute as a consultant in organizing and hosting several large-scale cultural festivals, Pekan Budaya, in Padang, West Sumatra, during the past two years. The footage from these festivals often left the audience in awed silence, observing the bright colors and ornate costumes and headdresses, as well as the unique and fluid dance movements, all from the Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra, one of the world’s longest surviving matrilineal societies. During the final event at the International Center, Mr. Stoute, or Bapak Waleed, as he is called in Indonesian cultural circles, led the group in the traditional movements of the Minang style of dance.
During the weekend of February 7, the Yale Indonesia Forum invited the Indonesian Students Association from Cornell University to visit campus and participate in a day-long workshop. Together, the students from Yale, Cornell, and Wesleyan University in Middletown shared their research projects with each other and discussed the various ways in which they could use their expertise to help their communities and fellow students back home. Indriyo Sukmono, Senior Lector in SEAS and faculty advisor to the YIF, invited Bapak Waleed to lecture to the audience. Bapak Waleed shared from his experience in academic collaborations with students and universities overseas. He encouraged all those present to continue searching for new ways to support students back home in their efforts to improve their educational opportunities and study abroad.
Leonardo Stoute, Bapak Waleed, is the Founder and Director of the International Silat Federation of America and Indonesia, a group which works to promote a broader understanding of the traditional cultures and heritage of West Sumatra, Indonesia. He is also the President of the LSI Group, a global diversified consulting group, with operations in the United States and in Southeast Asia. Originally from Panama, Mr. Stoute received his MBA from the University of Maryland, and was one of the pioneers in the creation of CIGNA, in addition to being a well-respected athlete and master instructor in various martial arts.