Indonesian, Norwegian universities sign research, academic cooperation

Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta and Adger University and Oslo University in Norway have signed a deal in Yogyakarta covering academic development and research cooperation, reports the Jakarta Post.

Since 1992, Norwegian students fromUniversity of Agder have regularly visited and studied at the Gadjah Mada University. (Photo: University of Agder)

The deal was sealed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Wednesday by UGM rector Pratikno, Agder University chief Torunn Lauvdal and Fanny Duckert of Oslo University.

“The cooperation is focused on research to improve the academic quality of both countries,” Pratikno said after the signing ceremony on UGM’s campus.

On hand for the ceremony were Norwegian Crown Prince Hakoon Magnus; his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit; and Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Gry Larsen.

Pratikno said that the other areas of cooperation covered by the deal included student and lecturer exchange programs. He claimed that there had been increasing interest expressed by Indonesians in studying in Norway, and vice versa.

“We ask the younger generation to learn about one another. Our young generation should learn about Norway, and Norway’s young generation should learn about Indonesia,” Pratikno said, adding that there were also local communities that studied Norwegian culture and language.

The cooperation will last for five years, from 2012 to 2017, according to Pratikno.

The crown prince said that Indonesia and Norway had been cooperating since 1992 in several different areas, including economic issues, education and infrastructure development.

This is the crown prince’s first visit to UGM, which he said was famous for its educational and interfaith discussions.

During his stay in the area, the crown prince also visited Yogyakarta Palace and world heritage site Borobudur temple in neighboring Magelang, Central Java.

At the Yogyakarta Palace (keraton), the crown prince was received by Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and his wife, Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hemas.

The royals spoke for about 45 minutes about possible Norwegian investment in the area, among
other things.

“I said that Norway could invest in the fields of water treatment, fisheries or shipyards. They have the technology,” the sultan told reporters after the meeting.

Hamengkubuwono said that Norway was famous for its environment-friendly technology, something that Indonesia should take advantage of.

“That way it will not be just investments that make Indonesians consume more. It will also make Indonesians more productive,” the sultan said.

Hamengkubuwono said that he told the crown prince about Yogyakarta as a city of culture and as the heart of the Javanese culture.

The sultan also showed the crown prince several rare items in the palace, including several sacred knives (kris), the Baratayudha manuscript made during the rule of Hamengkubuwono VII in the early 20th century and four wayang kulit (leather puppet) representing Kresna, Puntadewa, Arjuna and Batara Guru.

The first three puppets were created by Hamengkubuwono I while the last was made by Hamengkubuwono VIII.

“They are not something that was produced en masse,” the sultan said.

“Prince Haakon seemed to be very interested in the puppets. He asked a lot of questions about them,” Siti Amirul, the palace’s guide who accompanied Hamengkubuwono during the crown prince’s visit, said.

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