UIII Academic Convocation

We warmly welcome you all! It is my great pleasure to welcome you here this morning to this Convocation Day 2022, this is our second annual event organized by UIII to officially welcome the new coming students to our campus. Today, we will also officially start our academic programs for the 2022/2023 Academic Year at the UIII Campus.

From the establishment of UIII a few years ago until now, we have continued to strive to build networks and synergies with stakeholders, especially with other parties home and abroad, both government and private institutions. This campus is a National Strategic Project (or PSN) which was established based on Presidential Regulation Number 57 signed by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in 2016. There might not be any other educational institution in Indonesia that can be used as an example to build such a central project. Neither do Islamic universities in this country. It is a pioneering project. But since this is not an instant project, it might take some time to get it established. Also, it takes a fair amount of time to judge its successes or failures in the future.

According to the plan, the UIII campus is not only filled with students from Indonesia but also international students from various countries. Last year, UIII has prepared to receive 100 students for four faculties through full scholarships. Of that number, the majority of students come from Indonesia and some others have come from different countries. UIII students last year (2021) consisted of 58 percent male and 42 percent female with details of 66 percent Indonesian citizens and 34 percent foreign nationals.

This year, 2022, we have received about 1500 applicants from all over the world, and we have carefully accepted 148 new students, both MA and PhD, namely: 43 students at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, 33 students at the Faculty of Social Sciences, 44 students in the Faculty of Economics and Business, and 28 students in the Faculty of Education.

While most new students come from Indonesia, about 1/3 of them are foreign students, they come from Asian countries: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Timor Leste, and African countries: Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia, as well as other countries such as Armenia.

We warmly welcome you all!

During the past year, there have been some major and influential academic activities at UIII: outside the classroom, almost every faculty at UIII holds conferences, seminars, webinars and workshops on a regular basis. They invite world-class speakers, discussing important global issues in their respective fields. They also collaborate with various domestic and foreign institutions. For me, activities like this are very important and make us proud.

Since its inception, UIII strives to uphold excellence in teaching and research. The term “center of excellence” is always associated with other words, namely “civilization.” In the world of science, both are not new terms. However, I felt a new energy and spirit when the term was recently conveyed by the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Prof. K.H. Ma’ruf Amin who enthusiastically said that the Indonesian government was building the International Islamic University of Indonesia (UIII) “... to become a global center of excellence for Islamic civilization, which does not just adopt the pattern of UIN (State Islamic University) with an international campus status.”

Vice President Makruf Amin’s message above repeats and reinforces what President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla had said much earlier, that UIII is designed as a new mecca for world-class Islamic education and introduces Wasathiyah Islam which is developing and practiced in Indonesia.

He also said that, several months ago, he was visited by the Secretary-General of the Al-Muslimin Hukama Council and his staff. The purpose of the delegation’s arrival was to learn from Indonesia regarding the successful implementation of Wasathiyah Islam (moderate) which is a global trend today. They are of the view that now is not the time for Arabic thoughts to be translated into Indonesian, but on the contrary, thoughts from Indonesia need to be translated into Arabic. Based on that, Vice President Ma’ruf Amin hopes that UIII as a new campus can provide answers to expand and strengthen this global trend so that it can be applied in various parts of the world.

The UIII campus, with an area of 142 hectares of land, is a graduate university and mainly intended for students of the Masters and Doctoral programs. Alhamdulillah, we had started our academic programs in September 2021 (last year). Some of the lecture activities were carried out online, and some were hybrid classes. We are very grateful that in 2021 we had started campus operational activities, including conferences, workshops and webinars.

We also have ensured that the lecturers at the UIII campus are lecturers with professorship degrees graduated from prominent universities abroad. This is related to the teaching system we adopt, using English and Arabic languages. UIII has also empowered various resources, including the involvement of local lecturers as assistant professors.

We won’t be here as we stand here today if not for the unwavering support of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir. H. Joko Widodo (Jokowi), and the Vice President Prof. KH Ma’ruf Amin, and the tireless help and assistance of Minister of Religious Affairs, Mr. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, especially the Secretary General, Prof. Nizar Ali, the Director General for Islamic Education, Prof. M. Ali Ramdhani, and the Director of Islamic Higher Education, Prof. Suyitno and all their helpful staff at the Ministry;

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. H. M. Jusuf Kalla, the Chairman of Board of Trustees as well as all of its members: Adamas Belva Syah Devara, Minister of Religious Affairs - Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology - Nadiem Anwar Makarim, Minister of Finance - Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Foreign Affairs - Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Governor of West Java – M. Ridwan Kamil, and Academic Senate Chairman of Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia - Muhammad Rifqi Muna for their continuing support and advice.

Our heartfelt thanks also go to Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Mr. Luhut B. Panjaitan, the Chief of Staff of Presidency, Mr. Moeldoko, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Zainudin Amali for their encouraging support of this university and the students.

We are also very grateful to the Minister of Finance, and the Director General of Budget, and the Minister of Bappenas and the Director of Education and Science and Technology of Bappenas. Also Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Director of the Committee for the Acceleration of Infrastructure Priority Procurement.

Special thanks go to Minister of Public Works and Public Housing, Mr. H. Mochamad Basuki Hadimuljono, as well as the Head of 8th Commission of Indonesia’s House of Representatives and its members, the Supreme Court, and the Mayor of Depok City.

It is an honor and at the same time a tough task for us at UIII to be able to carry out this mandate. The input and direction from both the President and the Vice President became a trigger for all of us to re-read with a broader view of the university’s vision and mission, after all this time we may have been too busy with some routines.

We are in a continuous discourse that contains major narratives such as the center of excellence, civilization, Islamic Washatiyah, etc., which have not been studied academically as is usually the case with university traditions. In the context of UIII, such academic studies must also involve international stakeholders from elements of scientists, diplomats, political leaders, research institutions, and world universities.

If we talk about Islamic civilization, for example, then our country can contribute to the Wasatiyah model of Islam which has become the tradition and practice of the Muslim community in the archipelago for centuries. However, because Islamic Civilization is cosmopolitan, we also need to be open to contributions from other Muslim countries. In other words, our epistemic community is extended into a kind of international network.

As a mechanism for the transmission of knowledge, epistemic networks become one of the foundations in building a global civilization. This network is important both at the level of theoretical and practical knowledge development, by involving governments in their respective countries.

Over the years, especially in the past two years, we have developed collaboration and partnerships with local and national agencies, and we would like to thank everyone at BRIN, PT.Telkom & Telkom University, Bank Indonesia, UI, UGM, IPB, including some warm welcomes from the Chairmen of NU and Muhammadiyah, two biggest Islamic organizations here, as well as support and advice fron MUI, Baznas, LPDP, BAN-PT, CSIS, Persepi – the Indonesia Pollster Association for their unwavering supports for our programs in the past year, including the Bank Mandiri for recently providing the university sports centers on this campus.

In the past two years, we are very delighted to have received visits and meaningful dialogue with prominent international organizations and embassies, just to name some: we are extremely grateful to the Rabithah ‘Alam Islami, UNDP, the Embassies of UK, Tukiye, Australia, South Korea, Iran, Japan, USA with its Special Envoy, UAE; including MIKTA the special collaboration among countries of Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Turkiye, and Australia in global challenges on food security.

We have benefited from our ongoing discussions with, among others, Fatwa Darul Fiqh, Asian African Youth Government - the international student association, giant tech company Apple, the British Chambers and Commerce and the British Council.

The faculties, academic programs and individual researchers at UIII have developed intensive collaborations with universities and they have been able to form a unique bond over the past year. They have succeeded in successfully advocating the interests of research and teaching across Indonesia, Australia, Europe and beyond.

In the past year, UIII has also expanded its partnerships with NISIS, ENIS & MIDA the Netherlands and the Faculty of Islamic Studies, UIII; also, we hope to continue our cooperation with Melbourne University, Ritsumeikan University, Center for Muslim Society, University of Western Australia, University of Edinburgh, Northwestern University, and most recently with Deakin University for the special project we work together in “Australia Award Indonesia.”

In the context of UIII, when we talk about the Islamic civilization project, we must also consider the cosmopolitan aspect of Islamic civilization itself. What we call Indonesian Islamic civilization, one of which is Washatiyah Islam, we must place it within the framework of thinking about cosmopolitanism. Other Muslim countries, with their respective strengths and characteristics, will be in a joint project to build the so-called global Islamic civilization.

In addition to these epistemic and moral foundations, another important aspect is the institutional foundation. In this regard, UIII has and will continue to portray itself as the institutionalization of the central ideas of universal Islamic civilization, and at the same time, disseminating them in the established epistemic network.

Outside of this collaboration with some leading universities home and abroad, each of these individuals is owed big thanks for the cascade of ideas and thinking shared with our students and faculty members: Profs. Ahmet T. Kuru, Robert F. Hefner, Tim Lindsey, the late Merle Ricklefs, Abdullahi An-Naim, Greg Fealy, Abdullah Sahin, Sarah Nur Muwahidah, Mehmet Asutay, Muhammad al-Marakeby, Mohamed Raougui, Muhammad Khalid Masud, Kishore Mahbubani; also, recent visiting graduate students from Edinburgh, UK and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and others – It’s just impossible to mention them all here.

Let me also thank the whole UIII civitas academica as an organization, all the Vice Rectors, the University Secretary, the Deans and Faculty members and staff, the Directors and their very able staff, as well as all professors, lecturers, speakers who have come and greatly contributed to our academic programs, conferences, seminars and workshops in the past year.

Last but not least, let me thank all of our students, especially the new coming students who have made the effort to come here today from home and abroad, thank you all for having attended this 2022 Convocation Day. Welcome, and good luck with your studies!