Jakarta. The University of Oxford is in the process of creating a new, permanent Southeast Asian Studies Center that will be based at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA), according to a professor who promoted the program during his visit to Jakarta on Monday.
Professor Timothy Power, the Head of the Social Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, said the center will facilitate fruitful exchanges of students and faculty between Oxford and Southeast Asian universities and support mutually beneficial and groundbreaking research in member countries of the regional grouping ASEAN.
“The ASEAN member states are some of the most rapidly growing countries in the world, with burgeoning global influence. The region has a fast-growing middle class, increasing investments in education, expanding tourism industry and industrialized dynamic regions with buoyant opportunities for international trade and investment,” Power said.
During his meeting with members of the Oxford Society Indonesia (OXSI) in Jakarta, Power was accompanied by British Ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins.
“Against the backdrop of this thriving economy, the UK, in particular, is strengthening its focus on building relationships, investments, and knowledge exchange with the region. As part of this, the University of Oxford is establishing the UK’s first ASEAN-focused research and teaching institute based in a leading university,” Power added.
According to the university, the center will focus on forward-looking issues for the region, such as sustainability, technology, and demographic shifts.
The center will have shared posts and teaching across several other key university departments: Geography and the Environment; Anthropology and Museum Ethnography; Politics and International Relations; Development Studies; History; the Blavatnik School of Government; and the Oxford Internet Institute.
OXSI, which represents Indonesia for alumni members and current students at the University of Oxford with over 200 members, welcomes the plan to establish the Southeast Asian Studies Center.
“We aim to encourage more Indonesian students to go to the University of Oxford and with this new Institute of ASEAN Studies, Oxford Society Indonesia hopes to forge greater connections to share expertise and create more opportunities for collaboration with the University of Oxford and the United Kingdom, as well as support current programs in Indonesia especially within the areas of sustainability, technology, social sciences, and economics,” OXSI President Teddy Tjandra said.
“Given that Indonesia is ASEAN’s biggest economy by GDP, this establishment is even more important to us as the alliance with the University of Oxford as a world-leading center would help advance our research and innovation for Indonesia and strengthen our country’s role within ASEAN,” he added.
Ambassador Jenkins said the new center will help expand the scope of bilateral cooperation in the education sector.
“This is a great initiative from the University of Oxford as a leading institution in the UK to promote ASEAN studies and we are very much looking forward to further collaboration with Oxford Society Indonesia in areas of education and research for Indonesia,” Jenkins said.