International collaborative network between Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and partners in the United States (US) is still limited. Many areas of collaboration can actually be explored to get funding schemes in the fields of education, research, capacity building, and others. In terms of student exchange, UGM students have a keen interest in getting an opportunity to study at US universities. This is shown by the number of UGM students who choose universities in the US as their destination for the exchange program. Through the Indonesian International Student Mobility Award (IISMA) program itself, in 2021 there were 19 students participating in the exchange program from Kampus Merdeka, and in 2022 through the same program, there were 7 students registered. The IISMA program, which was initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology as a part of the Independent Learning Independent Campus (MBKM) program, is considered to be very competitive that one of the means to increase student mobility to the US is to initiate a semester-based student exchange collaboration agreement. This collaboration agreement will exempt students from tuition fees. However, many partners in the US region are reluctant to process collaboration agreements under this scheme. This reluctance is due to the consideration of the principle of reciprocity, while UGM students are keen to join student exchange programs in the US, this is not the case for US students who tend to join student exchange programs in the European region. Seeing this fact, an approach is needed to introduce the position and potential of UGM in several universities in the US region.
Currently, the Indonesia Endowment Funds for Education (LPDP) has a funding scheme for double degree programs. In 2022, 17 double degree programs by UGM and overseas partners were on LPDP’s list of programs of fully and partially funded scholarships. Therefore, this can be used as momentum to initiate collaboration with partners in the US, as well as a strategic point to open other partnership discussions. Based on the data, more than 20% of LPDP partners are in the US, which is a great potential for the development of double degree programs. The target in achieving Key Performance Indicator (IKU) 6, related to Study Program Partnership with the criterion that overseas partners are included in the Top 100 by QS list, is also the main reason for the collaboration expansion in the US. This is because most of the reputable universities are located in the US. For this reason, UGM delegates will visit several partners, including the University of Maryland, College Park, Georgetown University, and USAID.
The 75th NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo is the right momentum for UGM to expand partnerships with US partners. This event will be held in Washington DC from May 30 to June 2, 2023. NAFSA is the world’s largest association dedicated to international education and exchange. There will be thousands of professionals and institutions of education, research, and others from all over the world. UGM, sending four delegates led by Alfatika Aunuriella Dini, Ph.D. along with several faculty representatives, among others: Muhammad Kamal, S.Si., M.GIS, Ph.D., from Faculty of Geography, Prof. Dr. drg. Regina Titi Christinawati Tandelilin, M.Sc., from Faculty of Dentistry, and Galang Lufityanto, S.Psi., M.Psi., Ph.D., from Faculty of Psychology. This event is also supported by the Directorate General of Higher Education, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the US. In this event, besides introducing UGM in an international forum, it is also an opportunity for UGM to establish networks with foreign partners who participate in the event. On this occasion, UGM delegates will also present a concept note to USAID for a consortium collaboration between Indonesian universities led by UGM and several US universities with the theme of the Indonesia-America Campus Partnership for Climate Action (IMPACT). The IMPACT program is planned to be one of the centers of sustainable collaboration between UGM and the US to solve real issues regarding climate change with a multidisciplinary and multiperspective approach through a consortium of universities.