Through reunion and other activities, IU builds on strong ties across Southeast Asia

More than 175 alumni and friends attended the 2015 IU Asian-Pacific Alumni Conference.

More than 175 alumni and friends attended the IU Asian-Pacific Alumni Conference.

According to Google, the distance between Bloomington, Ind., and Jakarta, Indonesia is about 10,000 miles. But should Hoosiers find themselves in the world’s fourth most populous country, Indiana University is well represented through its alumni and an official alumni chapter.

A series of major activities there recently, including a historic reunion in Bali, furthered IU’s already strong connections across Southeast Asia.

Shortly after becoming IU’s 18th president, Michael McRobbie directed that an international strategic plan be prepared and has since taken many steps to ensure that IU continues to be a leader in international education.

2015 IU Asian-Pacific Alumni Conference

McRobbie returned to Indonesia for the 2015 IU Asian-Pacific Alumni Conference May 22-24 in Bali, joining more than 200 university alumni and friends who traveled there from China, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Singapore, the Philippines and other nations.

IU President Michael McRobbie, left, applauds Asma Ismail.

IU President Michael McRobbie, left, applauds Asma Ismail.

He led an IU delegation that included deans from IU’s Kelley School of Business, School of Global and International Studies, the School of Education, the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the College of Arts and Sciences.

McRobbie last visited Indonesia in 2012 as part of a trip to Southeast Asia. IU has 975 active alumni associated with Indonesia and an alumni chapter in the nation’s capital, Jakarta.

Deans led six panels discussions on a variety of topics, featuring successful IU alumni.

IU’s first lady, Laurie Burns McRobbie, moderated a panel discussion on global leadership through women’s empowerment. Panelists included women who today are the deputy governor of Bangkok, Thailand; someone who oversees financial services policy and regulation in Indonesia; and one of the founding members of the Global Compact of the United Nations.

“The spirit of IU may seem like it is thousands of miles away, but it also right here in this room today, with you, some of our most dedicated alumni from the Asia-Pacific region,” McRobbie told conference attendees on May 23. “You are part of the spirit of Indiana University and your successes are the university’s successes.”

Ibu Nurhaida receiving the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion.

Ibu Nurhaida receiving the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion.

Among those successful alumni are two women who received Thomas Hart Benton Medallions in Bali for their records of public service and advancements for other women in traditional male-oriented societies.

Asma Ismail earned a master’s degree in microbiology from IU and today serves a Malaysia’s director general of higher education — the first woman to hold the position. Ibu Nurhaida earned an MBA from the Kelley School of Business and since 2011 has chaired the agency in the Indonesian Ministry of Finance overseeing capital markets and financial institutions — also the first woman to hold the post.

The medal is given to individuals who have achieved a level of distinction in public office or service and have exemplified the values of IU.

McRobbie speaks to leaders of Indonesia’s universities

On Thursday, President McRobbie delivered the keynote address at the Symposium on Establishment of the Field of Higher Education Leadership and Management in Bogor, Indonesia. The symposium was held concurrently with a meeting of the Indonesian Council of State Rectors.

The topic of McRobbie’s speech was “Higher Education Leadership and Management: Leading for Change — Innovation and Research.”

IU leads the Indiana Alliance, a collaboration among three U.S. Midwest universities, including Ohio State University and the University of Illinois, with strong graduate programs in higher education leadership and management.

The alliance works with the Higher Education Leadership and Management, a U.S. Agency for International Development project. HELM works with the Indonesian government to support the implementation of higher education reforms and strengthen leadership and management across 50 higher education institutions in Indonesia.

IU has partnership agreements with Indonesia’s four top-ranked universities and will work with each of them to develop programs over the next five years.

Visiting Jakarta and the Indonesian Stock Exchange

McRobbie closed his week in Indonesia with visits to the Indonesian Stock Exchange, where he opened Friday’s trading, and meetings with officials in the Ministry of Education and with U.S. ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake.

The IU delegation opened the Indonesian Stock Exchange.

The IU delegation opened the Indonesian Stock Exchange.

IU has a decades-long history of working with universities in Indonesia. The university’s ties to Indonesia go back to the late 1950s, when IU’s 11th president, Herman B Wells, made a formal visit.

In 2014, IU had 8,684 international students and 110 Indonesian students. In fall 2015, IU will welcome the first Indonesian Ph.D. student in the field of higher education leadership and management. Two more Ph.D. students have been admitted for next year.

IU is one of the nation’s premier centers for foreign language instruction, with more than 70 languages taught on a regular basis. This year IU has begun offering Bahasa Indonesian. In April, eight leaders in higher education leadership and management programs from Indonesia visited IU for training focusing on distance and e-learning.

Efforts to bring IU to the world and the world to IU enhance the global fluency of students and diversify its campuses. The IU flag flies everywhere because of an ever-growing number of international alumni.

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