Thirty-four Indonesian scholars will begin their postgraduate studies at universities across the United States this August after being sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). (JG Photo/Sheany)

USAID Grants 34 Indonesian Scholars Chance to Study at American Universities

BY :SHEANY

JULY 21, 2017

Jakarta. Thirty-four Indonesian scholars will begin their postgraduate studies at universities across the United States this August after being sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID.

At a send-off event organized by the US Embassy in Jakarta, USAID and the Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education on Tuesday (18/07), US Ambassador Joseph Donovan said the scholars will represent the Southeast Asian nation while studying abroad.

"Education is a top partnership priority for both the United States and Indonesia. In fact, since 1950, USAID has provided scholarships for approximately 4,000 Indonesians," Donovan said, adding that educational exchanges and people-to-people exchanges are important aspects of the US-Indonesia strategic partnership.

"After they finish their education, they are going to use what they have learned and bring it back here for Indonesia," the ambassador said.

Donovan mentioned that previous USAID scholars have taken on projects to empower communities across Indonesia after finishing their studies, such as utilizing community services to increase financial literacy, or supporting street vendors and women entrepreneurs.

Nada Darmayanti Marsudi, head of the bureau for cooperation and public communication at the Education Ministry, echoed Donovan's sentiment and pointed to the long history of US-Indonesia cooperation in that field.

"The governments of Indonesia and the United States have maintained harmonious bilateral cooperation in education, science and technology for decades," Nada said.

She added that scholarship programs like those provided by USAID are great examples of US support for the development of science, technology and higher education in Indonesia, especially in terms of preparing and increasing the quality of human resources in the country.

The scholarships were distributed under USAID's Program to Extend Scholarships to Achieve Sustainable Impacts (Prestasi) and Governing Oil Palm Landscapes for Sustainability (GOLS).

The scholarships are specific to areas of studies fundamental in Indonesia’s development progress, such as health policy and reform, as well as law enforcement and forestry.

"By zeroing in on these really important development sectors with Indonesia's intellectual capital, getting these higher degrees and bringing that back here to advance and accelerate Indonesia's progress to achieve their development goals is really exciting for the US because it consolidates in what we believe so strongly in and that's Indonesia's future," said Erin McKee, USAID's Indonesia mission director.

In some cases, Indonesia also contributes and invests money into the scholarships, such as through funding training, transportation and other necessities that may be required for scholars in pursuit of postgraduate degrees.

The scholars have been accepted to a number of different universities in the United States, such as Yale University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Southern California and University of Minnesota, where they will study varying subjects ranging from criminal justice to agro-forestry.

Septy Juwita Agustin Tobing, who will pursue her master's degree in criminal justice at Rutgers University in New Jersey, hopes to learn more about juvenile justice and help increase the quality of Indonesia's justice system in the future.

"I want to learn more about restorative justice, to prevent youth from incarceration and address the issue of overcrowding in prison facilities," Septy said.

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