UGM enhances cooperation in education, research, and community service with partners in the United States by participating in the 75th NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo in Washington, DC, from May 30 to June 2, 2023.
Acting Head of Sub-Directorate of Domestic Cooperation, Dr. Alfatika Anuriella Dini, said that UGM would be joined by thousands of professionals and educational, research, and other institutions worldwide at the conference.
In addition to introducing UGM to the international forum, the event organized by the world’s largest association dedicated to education and international exchange is also an opportunity for UGM to establish networks with foreign partners.
“The UGM delegation will also present a concept note to USAID for cooperation between a consortium of Indonesian universities led by UGM and several US universities entitled Indonesia-America Campus Partnership for Climate Action (IMPACT),” said Dr. Dini.
“The IMPACT program is planned to be one of the centers of sustainable cooperation between UGM and the US to resolve real climate change issues with a multidisciplinary and multi-perspective approach through a consortium of universities,” she added.
Besides Dr. Dini as team leader, other delegates to the conference were Dr. Muhammad Kamal from the Faculty of Geography; Dr. Regina Titi Christinawati Tandelilin, professor of oral biology from the Faculty of Dentistry; and Dr. Galang Lufityanto from the Faculty of Psychology. This activity was supported by the Directorate General of Higher Education and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the US.
The acting head further explained that the international cooperation network between UGM and US partners still needs to be improved. There are many potentials for cooperation in various fields, one of which is student exchange. The interest of UGM students to study at universities in the US is quite high, as seen from the number of UGM students picking the US as the destination country for student exchange programs. Through the Indonesian International Student Mobility Award (IISMA) program, for instance, 19 UGM students went to US universities in 2021 and seven students in 2022.
She explained that the IISMA program initiated by the Ministry of Education as part of the Merdeka Belajar Kampus Merdeka (MBKM) policy is highly competitive. Hence, one of the efforts to increase student mobility to the US is to initiate a semester-based student exchange cooperation agreement, which will provide student tuition fee exemptions.
“Unfortunately, many partners in the US are reluctant to proceed with cooperation agreements of such due to the principle of reciprocity,” she said.
Although the interest of UGM students to come to the US is quite high, this is different from US students. US students usually prefer to join exchange programs in Europe.
“Seeing this fact, we need an approach to introduce the position and potential of UGM to universities in the US,” she said.
The Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) has a funding scheme for double degree programs. In 2022, 17 UGM double degree programs with foreign partners were included in the list of programs funded by LPDP, either in whole or in part.
She considered this momentum as a way to initiate cooperation with partners in the US region and a strategic point to open other partnership discussions.
“Based on the data, there are more than 20% of LPDP partners in the US region, and this is a great potential for developing double degree programs,” she said.
In addition, the target in Key Performance Indicator (IKU) 6 on Study Program Partnerships with overseas partners included in the QS Top 100 is also rationality in expanding cooperation in the United States.
This is important, considering that most of the reputable universities are in the US. For this reason, the UGM delegation will visit several partners, including the University of Maryland, College Park, Georgetown University, and USAID.