Smart city concept illustrated by SenseTime.

Inaugural Happy Digital X Program Concluded

OCTOBER 08, 2021

A total of 72 city planners, system designers, product developers, entrepreneurs, and digital experts from Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries completed a professional course called “Happy Digital X: Cities, Systems, Products and Services”, or HDX, in Bali on September 28.

The X of cities is the urban fabric itself, the plans and policies that guide a city’s development; the systems that provide infrastructure and public services, particularly linked to ICT, and the products and services used by inhabitants. This is the fabric that collectively brings happiness to urban residents – the Happy Digital X.


Participants were taught and trained to contribute to the development of “happy digital cities”, where people are healthy and prosperous, the environment is well protected, and businesses are run on good governance principles for a better world.

During the virtual graduation ceremony, Tsinghua University Chancellor Yang Bin said the HDX program offered an exceptional learning experience. It empowers participants to co-create a future of holistic happiness aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals by engaging in real-world challenge projects. 

“As an important component of Tsinghua University’s global strategy, Tsinghua Southeast Asia Center is dedicated to building a platform for cooperation and exchange between China, Southeast Asian countries, and beyond,” Yang said. 

“It is our sincere hope that this meaningful step and our joint efforts will continue to produce outcomes towards building a more sustainable world, in facing the ever-changing and transformative challenges, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery efforts,” he added. 
Several Indonesian cabinet members were also present at the event.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said the government opens door to broad collaboration in city development planning and allows anyone to contribute ideas on how to make city residents happier.

He encourages the graduates to implement what they have learned in the HDX program and help the government accelerate post-pandemic national economic recovery.

Similarly, Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Minister Nadiem Makarim called on the graduates to play an active role in government programs.

"By coincidence, we have adopted the freedom of learning policy to allow mutual happiness between teachers and their students. Such collaboration becomes our strength in building the country," Nadiem said.

HDX program lead advisor Edward Crawley, an honorary professor of Tsinghua University, said he was impressed by the diversity of experiences of the people involved in the program. 

“This institution was founded in order to address the existential issues of our time: poverty, unhappiness, climate change. The program itself represents a convocation -- a coming together -- and on its graduation, we have shown that we can come together to learn, co-create, and bring technology and society together to address these issues for our common future,” Crawley said.

Like many other parts of the world, Southeast Asian cities are embracing digital transformation. The way city functions and people work and interact is rapidly changing.

The HDX Program delivers a four-month, practice-focused professional education program to strengthen the capabilities of practitioners in developing happy, sustainable cities through the successful implementation of ICT. Participants of the first HDX class come from various government institutions, business sectors, universities, and civil societies in Southeast Asia and Europe.