Directorate General for ASEAN Cooperation in the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Universitas Gadjah Mada have agreed to establish Center for ASEAN Studies at UGM. The agreement was put in writing in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Rector, Prof. Dr. Pratikno, M.Soc.Sc, and Director General for ASEAN Cooperation, I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, MA, at the East Seminar Room, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences UGM on Thursday (5/10).
I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, MA said the cooperation became an important event to establish stronger ties between ASEAN community and UGM in terms of education, research and community service. Related to community service, the cooperation is expected to introduce ASEAN to the community, including universities and academicians.
"Because ASEAN is not only a concept in the sky or one that is known only by the elite in Jakarta, but the more important is the context of people center, people oriented, in order that ASEAN is more known among people, making it more people oriented," he said.
With the signing of cooperation, people’s understanding is expected to get better, making them better prepared ahead of the One Single ASEAN community in 2015. With the same understanding of ASEAN Community, communities would be able to go forward facing global competition. “This is because national and regional power will come together facing such challenges in the future,” he explained.
The Director General said that realisation of the cooperation is the establishment of ASEAN Study Center at UGM. UGM is seen as having adequate human resources and some experts are interested in ASEAN issues. They are expected to give their thoughts. “That way, Indonesia can have more roles while contribution from experts in the Faculty would become the roots of ASEAN Study Center. This would make UGM stronger as an institution and is open for everyone who is interested in studying ASEAN more intensively,” he said.
The same expectation was conveyed by the Rector that the MoU became an important moment in entering the era of One Single ASEAN Community by 2015. It requires hard work for Indonesia to be able to have important contribution and become ASEAN leader. For UGM, there are many subjects to be prepared in dealing with the situation, among others, capacity enhancement of Indonesian human resources to face the more open mobility and manpower among ASEAN countries. “We’re preparing ourselves to support technical skills and knowledge and other forms of support.”
Language command is, therefore, needed. If English has been the first language, another language is required, too. UGM provides learning facilities for this while open for those who want to study other languages of Asia. “Previously, it was a must to speak English, now it’s a must to speak Tagalog, for example. This has to be prepared in order that we can compete in ASEAN before coming to the One Single ASEAN Community,” he explained.
The Rector said that the support from Foreign Affairs Ministry is much required. Moreover, that the cooperation mandate is not only G to G, but also people to people. "Such spirit has to be developed at UGM, particularly in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, as has been developed by students on Latin America with SIPAL, or Scandinavia with Scandinavia Community. These showed that what’s important is preparing the generation to raise interest in studying other countries more intensively,” he added.
In the signing of MoU while celebrating the 35th anniversary of the relations between ASEAN and Canada, also present was the Canadian Ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. MacKenzie Clugston. He appreciated the solid cooperation between Canada and ASEAN. Canada, therefore, continues to participate actively in ASEAN meetings.
For Canada, MacKenzie said, ASEAN has an important position and the harmonius relations need to sustain. Apart from disbursing some 28 million dollar in fund for projects in the next 4 years, Canada has the hope of having tje important role of forums such as Canada Business Council and Canada Regional Forum. "I hope this would be sustainable and both would facilitate each other for mutual interests,” MacKenzie said.