UIII Master's Student Awarded Best Paper at ANU Religion Conference in Australia

April 28, 2023

Contributor: Dadi Darmadi | Editor: Supriyono

On the left Dr David W. Kim (as chair of ANU Religion Conference Committee), On Mariam my right side is Dr Melissa Lovell (co-chair of ANU Religion Conference Committee) and Dr Lina Koleilat (Australian National University)

Mariam Ulpah, an MA student at the Faculty of Education at UIII, recently attended the 4th ANU Religion Conference 2023, which was held on 13-15 April 2023 at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia. Despite being the only master's student among PhD candidates and other professors, Mariam was granted an exception to attend due to the relevance of her paper, "Critical Thinking Instruction in Islamic Higher Education: Investigating Lecturers' Perception and Approaches," which explores how to integrate critical thinking into religious beliefs.

The conference, organized by the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, brought together 102 participants from approximately 20 different countries, including the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Taiwan, China, and Korea. The attendees included professors, lecturers, PhD candidates, and representatives from various associations.

Mariam's paper stood out among the impressive presentations, earning her two awards: “the Best Paper Award” and “the Student Bursary in Recognition of Outstanding and Active Participation” at the Conference. The former comes with a certificate of appreciation and 500 Australian dollars, while the latter includes 200 Australian dollars and an award certificate.

Mariam's success at the conference was made possible by the support of her UIII Faculty and Campus, who provided both material and other forms of assistance. Mariam feels grateful to have had the opportunity to attend such a prestigious international conference, and her experience highlights the benefits of her rigorous education at UIII's Faculty of Education. As Mariam continues her studies and research, she is confident in her ability to compete internationally and contribute to the field of critical thinking instruction in Islamic higher education.

Determination and Hardwork

Growing up in the remote area of Jasinga, Bogor, West Java, Mariam Ulpah faced many challenges in pursuing her dream of receiving a higher education. Her family had an irregular income, and her parents had the old-fashioned belief that women should only return to the kitchen and that higher education was not important. Therefore, she had to compete for scholarship opportunities to attend school.

With her determination and hard work, she was able to complete six years at the Ummul Quro Al Islami Islamic Boarding School in Leuwiliang, Bogor, with the help of a portion of the Outstanding Santri Scholarship. She then went on to pursue a double degree at two different universities in Jakarta, Al-Azhar Indonesia University majoring in Arabic literature and the Department of International Relations at Muhammadiyah University of Jakarta.

Despite the financial and cultural barriers, she excelled in her studies and even received cum laude honors for her double degree. Her thesis titles were "Honorifics Social Deixis in the Novel Imraatun Inda Nuqtotis Sidr by Nawal El Saadawi" and "Factors Pushing Turkey in Intervening in the Mosul War in Northern Iraq in 2014-2016." She also had the opportunity to study Arabic literature at the University of Tunis in Tunisia and even worked as part of the Media and Publication team at the Indonesian Embassy in Tunis.

Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of education. Despite facing significant obstacles, she never gave up on her dream of receiving a higher education. With the help of scholarships and her own hard work, she was able to overcome financial and cultural barriers and achieve her goals. Her story is an inspiration to many who face similar challenges in pursuing their dreams.

Push Your Potential to the Max!

Mariam Ulpah is a first-generation master's program student at the Faculty of Education at the Indonesian International Islamic University (UIII). Being part of the first batch made her want to show that she was capable of finishing what she started and become a source of pride for the Faculty in particular and the Campus in general, despite the burden of being the first batch.

Before she became a UIII student, she had her own insecurities about her abilities and potential. At the beginning of college, she found it difficult to cope with the heavy and endless assignments. However, as time and semesters passed, she experienced a drastic and significant change where writing in English was no longer a burden and reading materials in English became a daily routine that didn't take long to comprehend.

She is grateful and appreciative of being a part of the UIII's first batch, especially in the Faculty of Education. The teachings and challenging assignments have helped her to become more confident and achieve more than she ever thought possible. She believes that her current achievements are the result of the sincerity of the lecturers at the Faculty and the staff who always go the extra mile to help their students.

To all the potential UIII students, she is confident that they will never regret being a part of this institution. The learning and socializing atmosphere on this campus is warm and feels like a family. The environment and the international friends make for a unique experience. Apart from academic matters, non-academic aspects will also be found on this campus. One of the things she enjoys is the opportunity to expand her network of great scholars both in Indonesia and abroad.

UIII offers something that she has never experienced before in any other institution. Being a UIII student is a major and special achievement for her. She is certain that the institution will help its students to be more courageous and confident to compete on the international stage.

Her message to fellow students is that making good history wherever they are is one of the foundations of success. They should keep growing, push their potential to the max, never feel satisfied, and keep reading and writing. If they feel challenged by very heavy assignments, they should be grateful because it means that the lecturers love their students.