Editorial: A Busy Year

The 2021 calendar that will soon be taken down from the wall is filled with notes about various activities at UIII. Perhaps this is the busiest year in the formative years of this campus. The construction of the campus, which had stalled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was pushed this year because it had to catch up with the opening of the academic year.

Whatever happens, our campus must be opened this year! That is the determination of all of us and the stakeholders of UIII. Even earlier, we had physically and mentally prepared that the academic program would be conducted offline, face-to-face. Outside, there have been voices urging that the opening of the first academic year should not be conducted online but face-to-face and directly attended by students from various countries who were selected as recipients of UIII scholarships.

At that time, the Covid-19 pandemic showed a downward trend. So we have prepared all the needsboth software and hardware, to welcome this historic moment. Unfortunately, two months before the academic program was opened in last September, the Covid-19 pandemic escalated again. This time even more dangerous, where hospitals were full of Covid-19 patients and the death toll jumped significantly. The government had again imposed strict local and national restrictions on people’s mobility.

We did not delay the opening of the academic program, because 2021 has been set as the start of a new academic year for UIII. Even President Jokowi has stressed this point several times on many different occasions. It is understood that the construction of the UIII Campus is one of the National Strategic Projects. However, considering the above conditions, we were forced to take the policy that this academic year the semester would be conducted fully online.

Alhamdulillah, Praise be to God, the opening of the inaugural lecture has been successfully held on September 27, 2021 in a ceremony we call the Academic Convocation, and it will become a tradition every new academic year at UIII. In addition to being attended by the academic community, the Academic Convocation event was also attended by the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia (2014-2019), H.M. Jusuf Kalla who delivered a direct speech as Chair of the UIII Board of Trustees. The Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, who was present online, also delivered a special oration which essentially emphasized that the UIII campus could be one of the contributions of Indonesian Muslims to world civilization.

Academic Convocation is the culmination of a series of activities at UIII during 2021. Our focus is to invite young people from all over the world to become UIII students through the UIII scholarship program. So on June 7, 2021, UIII began to open registration for new students until July 14, 2021. During the registration period we received as many as 1009 applicants from 59 countries, with a composition of 45% percent coming from Indonesia and 55% percent from abroad, such as Canada, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Senegal, Gambia, Afghanistan, etc.

Based on the results of the selection process, UIII has determined that 98 students are eligible and accepted as UIII students for the 2021-2022 academic year, consisting of: 28 students of the Masters Program in Islamic Studies, Faculty of Islamic Studies; 23 students of the Masters Program in Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences; 22 students of the Master of Economics Program, Faculty of Economics and Business; and 25 students of the Master of Education Program, Faculty of Education.

UIII new students consist of 58% percent male and 42% percent female with details 66% percent of Indonesian citizens and 34% percent of foreign nationals. Currently, new academic programs are opened for Master's programs. Next year, UIII plans to open Ph.D or doctoral programs in four existing faculties.

In addition to academic programs, 2021 would also be marked by the more intensive campus development which has passed the 3rd stage. The project, carried out by the Ministry of PUPR is now focused on building the Faculty B building, Professor of Housing, and supporting infrastructure for the campus area. Previously, in the second phase, the Ministry of Public Works and  People’s Housing (PUPR) has completed the construction of an 8-storey central library building with an area of 16,556 square meters with a capacity of up to 1,000 people, the construction of a 2-storey campus mosque with an area of 5,002 square meters with a capacity to accommodate 1,880 worshipers, and the construction of a Block I student residence hall (dormitory) covering an area of 12,615m2 consisting of 8 floors with 268 rooms. Meanwhile, the Faculty A building, which has been completed and is now being used, is included in the first phase of construction carried out by the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

Faculty B Building under construction, with the Student Apartments seen in the distant background.

If there are no more drawbacks, the entire UIII campus construction project will be completed in September 2022. Thus, the ideals that we have placed on the ceiling for the past 5 years will soon become a reality in front of our eyes. However, with the completion of the construction of the UIII campus, it does not mean that our work is already finished. When workers and contractors leave the construction area, we are just starting our step forward, to a time that knows no stopping point.

The philosophy of education is a continuous learning process to develop and improve the quality of life. Therefore, every generation is obliged to prepare the best education for the next generation. That is the reason why UIII provides scholarships to young people from various countries and the brightest minds from many parts of the world. We know that higher education costs a lot. Only the rich can enjoy such an education. But, by doing so we allow inequality to continue. And the future will not be better than the present. Let us reflect on an adage: If the future generation is worse than our generation, then we are actually committing crimes against humanity. [AG]