In order to closely observe academic programs and resume various cooperation programs, Acting Assistant to US Secretary of State for Exchange Programme, Maura M. Pally, made a visit to Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM). This was received by Rector of UGM, Prof. Ir Sudjarwadi, M.Eng., Ph.D., in his office on Friday (23/4), accompanied by Executive Secretary, Drs. Djoko Moerdiyanto, M.A., and Head of Office of International Affairs, Dr. Rahmat Sriwijaya.
In the occasion, both discussed various possibilities for new cooperation programs through various schemes, either from Fulbright or other programs run by the US State Department. In fact, the various programs have withdrawn attention from the public, particularly those in Yogyakarta and UGM. "There are so many student exchange programs, including the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) and Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX). YES is the sending of Indonesian students to study in the US," Djoko Moerdiyanto explained.
Of the visit, UGM hoped that it can increase the number of US students to study at UGM. The travel warning issued by the US Government had indeed made the number of US students studying in Indonesia imbalanced with the number of Indonesian students in the US.
"Despite the revocation of the travel warning, parents of US students still fear to send their children to Indonesia. The negative image has put Indonesia in a difficult position, so there are not many wanting to study here," Djoko added. Data showed that annually some 100 Indonesian students pursue education in the US. This figure is imbalanced with the US students in Indonesia, which is between 4 - 5 students. There needs to be efforts to balance this. UGM hoped that the US Government socialize Indonesiaâ€™s secure condition. "In 2009, some 30 rectors of US universities visited Indonesia. Half of the number visited UGM. We hoped that that those rectors would convince US universities that Indonesia is secure and fine," he said.
Djoko said that in the near future the Government of Indonesia would form partnership with Michigan and some other US cities for the sending of US students to Indonesia, including UGM. Those participating in the program are expected to inform people about Â Indonesiaâ€™s latest condition. "The one hundred students who were sent are expected to do that, giving information about Indonesiaâ€™s latest condition at US high schools, whether in Virginia, Washington DC, Oklahoma, and so on," he added.
After meeting the Rector, Maura M. Pally and the delegation went to the American Corner (AC) UGM and were received by Head of UGM Library, Drs. Ida Fajar Priyanto, M.A. Here, the delegation saw the AC UGMâ€™s book collections, Â library facilities and IT. They were impressed by the role of the AC UGM as the umbrella body for US academic exchange, making student exchange administration has no longer to be arranged in Jakarta, it is adequate to arrange this at the Office of International Affairs or American Corner UGM. "At the American Corner UGM, all information is available, particularly on scholarships and opportunities for Indonesians who will pursue education in the US. If President Obama would really visit UGM, that would make an extraordinary turning point for the number of US student studying at UGM,â€ Djoko ended.
Accompanying the delegation were US Embassy staff, Anne Grimes and Ms. Dana C. Rosenberg.