L-R: Professor Ian Netton, Acting Director of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Professor Gareth Stansfield, Professor of Middle East Politics and Director of IAIS, His Excellency Mohammad Nuh, Minister of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia, Professor Neil Armstrong, Dr Taufik Hanafi, Senior Advisor to the Minister. Photo by John Ffoulkes.

Indonesian Minister formalises relationship with Exeter

An Indonesian government Minister has led a delegation of senior officials to the University of Exeter to build relations with the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

His Excellency Muhammad Nuh, the Minister of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia, is visiting the United Kingdom to strengthen educational and cultural ties between the two countries. 

Earlier he signed a memorandum of understanding with the Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willets to promote ‘system to system’ exchanges between the two higher education sectors. 

The University of Exeter is working with the Indonesian government to explore ways to deepen this engagement, including the future development of courses on Indonesian language and politics. As part of the programme the Indonesian Embassy would fund bursaries for Exeter students to pursue language studies in Indonesia.

Jonathan Githens-Mazer, Associate Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies said: “As the world’s largest Muslim country, the Republic of Indonesia has a rich and varied Islamic culture.  A new Indonesian studies programme would be an exciting development to enhance delivery of important research and education on the wider Islamic world.  This is a mission that sits at the heart of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.  We are highly appreciative of the support which the Indonesian Embassy is providing for us to explore this avenue over the next two years.”

A Letter of Intent announcing the plans to work together was signed in Exeter by Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Armstrong and Professor Djoko Santoso, Director General of Higher Education for Indonesia.   The signing was witnessed by His Excellency Muhammad Nuh and Professor Gareth Stansfield, Director of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

Professor Armstrong said: “Exeter currently hosts 34 Indonesian students – a population that has trebled in the last two years.  We wish to develop new avenues to deepen our links with the Republic.  The Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies offers the University of Exeter a unique platform to engage with a country that will soon become a top ten world economy.”

Date: 30 May 2012