Contributors: Achmad Jatnika & Atia adjani | Editor: Ari Stoltze
Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) held its 3rd Academic Convocation on Monday, September 25, 2023. The event commenced with opening remarks by Prof. Komaruddin Hidayat, the Rector of UIII, followed by remarks from Jusuf Kalla, the Chairman of the UIII Board of Trustees. In attendance were members from across the entire UIII Academic Community, who contributed to the convocation becoming a significant gathering.
The Academic Convocation is an annual event for UIII to welcome the new students who will begin their studies this semester. Earlier in the year, on August 31, 2023, UIII also held its first graduation ceremony for 72 master's program graduates.
In the 2023-2024 Academic Year, UIII officially welcomed a total of 228 students from 23 countries. Among these, 175 students were admitted into seven different master's programs offered by the four faculties in UIII. Additionally, UIII accepted 53 doctoral program students who will be studying across the faculties.
In his opening speech, the Rector of UIII, Prof. Komaruddin Hidayat, congratulated the students who were to begin their studies at UIII and revealed they were beginning a journey that will open doors to a more complex and enlightened world.
"So, learning extends beyond the classroom. Embrace the opportunity to socialize, make friends, and interact with people from different walks of life. Embrace the wisdom of multiculturalism, for it is in diversity that we find strength. Beyond academics, we also encourage you to actively engage with the community and learn to interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds," said Prof. Komaruddin.
He also encouraged new UIII students to continue developing new ideas and think openly in pursuing the latest knowledge. As postgraduate students, they can expect to be influential in their respective fields of study.
"Remember that the journey you embark upon today is not one you take alone. You join a community of scholars, thinkers, and dreamers who are committed to making a positive impact on the world. Embrace this journey, which is the path to personal and collective growth. Welcome to Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia, where the pursuit of knowledge knows no boundaries," said Prof. Komaruddin.
Next to speak was Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia (2004-2009 and 2014-2019), who expressed that UIII students could answer the hopes of Indonesia and the world's Muslims for the realization of a young generation of Muslims who are moderate and valuable in increasing prosperity and world peace.
"This university was founded for the young generation of Muslims everywhere to practice moderate Islam, wasathiyah, until it is full of peace and until we create a good world. [...] Because no country can progress with just science and religion," he said.
In determining the cohort of new students for the 2023-2024 academic year, a total of 1,999 applications were received from 63 countries seeking the opportunity to study at UIII. The majority of new students for 2023-24 were international students, with domestic students comprising 44% of enrolment while international students were 56%.
"The interest in all faculties is almost the same; Islamic studies is very high from abroad. 60% of these applicants are from abroad, but we only accept 45%. But the interest is the same for each faculty," said the Vice-Rector for Academics, Student Affairs and Human Resources, Bahrul Hayat, PhD.
Development of Study Programs at UIII
This year, UIII opened three new study programs, namely, Master in Public Policy specializing on Climate Change, Master of Finance in Sustainable Finance, and Master of Arts in al-Takhassus fi al-Dirasat al-Islamiyya al-Turathiyya. These three study programs have attracted significant interest from within and outside the country.
In the future, UIII will continue to develop its study programs and faculties so that it will expand beyond the four faculties that are currently available. For example, developing study programs in the health sector will be one of UIII's focuses in the future.
"Islam is not only studying the Quran and hadith, fiqh, and so on. But life in the Islamic world also involves health, economics, business, and education. So our students will receive lectures about health, but also of course, the basics of religion too, so there's a mix Later. So don't just think that Islam only talks about fiqh, hadith, or interpretation. Islam is broad. And this trend has existed since the beginning, such as IAIN, which has a medical faculty. The people not only learn about religion but also learn about improving human dignity," said Jusuf Kalla.
Apart from developing new study programs, UIII also continues to improve the quality of education it is implementing, one of which is by recruiting lecturers from abroad. UIII has collaborated with Al-Azhar University in Egypt, and this year, several lecturers from Al-Azhar University in Egypt joined as teaching staff at UIII.
Bahrul Hayat explained that besides Al-Azhar University in Egypt, UIII also has lecturers from Harvard University in the United States. According to him, UIII continues to receive support from various campuses from within and outside the country.
"Our campus gets a lot of support from other campuses. The University of Edinburgh has also cooperated with us for the double degree program. So there will be 14 of our students (from Islamic studies) who will be leaving to continue their studies at the University of Edinburgh," he explained.