University launches Indonesia strategy

Image from the University of Melbourne Indonesia strategy launch in Jakarta
The University of Melbourne has launched a new Indonesia strategy.

The University of Melbourne has launched a new strategy to build closer partnerships in Indonesia, increase joint research projects and help develop a world-class higher education system in the leading South-East Asian nation.

The Engaging with Indonesia 2020-2024 strategy highlights the need to collaborate with Indonesian universities and researchers to have a positive impact on issues facing Indonesia and the world.

The University will play a key role in health security partnerships between Indonesia and Australia, develop joint research initiatives in agriculture and food sustainability, build better knowledge of law and policy reform processes in Indonesia, and foster understanding of Indonesian society and culture.

Under the strategy, the University of Melbourne is aiming to be a pre-eminent source of expertise, have an impact on policy setting and debate, and promote greater understanding between Australia and Indonesia.

The new strategy will build on the established ties between the University and Indonesia and follows this year’s signing of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The University is aiming to work with government, universities and partners to develop key initiatives such as:

  • The University of Melbourne Indonesia Post-Doctoral Program: A flagship post-doctoral program offering world-class academic training for aspiring Indonesian scholars.
  • A Melbourne Professional Education Centre: A venue for the University’s increasingly popular training offerings in areas ranging from infrastructure project finance to statelessness.
  • An Indo-Pacific One Health Network: Work with Indonesian partners to jointly develop a model for a ‘One Health’ research centre intended for replication across ASEAN.
  • A Melbourne-Indonesia ‘Graduate School’: An expanded offering of joint degrees with Indonesian partners will prepare a generation of graduates to move easily between Australia and Indonesia while engaged in key shared issues such as governance, health systems and poverty alleviation.

Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said the new Engaging with Indonesia 2020-2024 strategy will help build long-term partnerships and relationships that are not transactional but grounded in respective strengths.

“The University of Melbourne aspires to lead the expansion of educational and academic cooperation between Australia and Indonesia. Indonesian students are our third largest cohort of international students and are a deeply valued part of our community. The diverse perspectives they bring to the University help to connect our institution and our student community to our global and regional peers, enriching the educational and research environment on campus.”

Professor Maskell said the University already enjoys partnerships with the leading universities in Indonesia. “Our partners are our anchor in Indonesia, providing a channel for research and educational exchange and the conduit through which we engage with the broader Indonesian university community.

“Our academics are working with Indonesian scholars on research with an impact on the priorities and needs of Indonesian development and on the regional challenges that Indonesians and Australians share. Our students have the privilege of studying Indonesia first hand through co-taught intensive subjects. As we seek to continue to deepen our connections in Indonesia, our students, alumni and university partners will continue to be our anchor,” Professor Maskell said.

Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Gary Quinlan, welcomed the University of Melbourne’s efforts to deepen its engagement with Indonesia through its new strategy. “The new strategy is a great example of the way Australian education providers can develop closer ties and create opportunities for researchers, students and governments that will extend for decades to come. Education cooperation will play a central role in our longer term relationship with Indonesia.”

Last year, the University appointed Professor Vedi Hadiz as Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor International (Indonesia) to coordinate and deepen collaboration between the University and Indonesian partners on curriculum development, research, research training and design of evidence-based policy.

Professor Hadiz said the University of Melbourne’s Indonesian office was the first point of contact for many Indonesian students and also provided advice and support to travelling academics. The University is exploring the need to expand the office to support the growing program of academic engagements, alumni events and executive education. “The University of Melbourne’s Indonesia Studies program was founded in 1958 and is now one of the flagship programs of the University’s Asia Institute and a world-leading centre of Indonesian studies.”

There are two dedicated University of Melbourne overseas subjects for undergraduates delivered at the campus of Udayana University in Bali. The Faculty of Arts has developed five Masters-level subjects for University of Melbourne students which are co-designed and jointly taught with Indonesian partners. The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences has a longstanding and ongoing articulation agreement with Universitas Indonesia for the Bachelor of Medical Science program, to which Universitas Indonesia sends up to twenty of their top medical students each year for two intensive semesters of study. The Faculty of Arts also delivers two joint degrees with university partners in Indonesia.