Originally published in Jakarta Post | Friday, September 16 2016 | 01:01 pm
The American Indonesian Exchange Foundation (AMINEF) and PT Freeport Indonesia agreed on Thursday to provide scholarships for students from Papua and West Papua to study at community colleges in the US for two semesters through the Community College Initiative (CCI) program.
Freeport is providing US$1 million to fund the scholarship program from 2016 to 2020. Freeport previously funded the same program from 2010-2015, sending roughly 36 students to study in the US through CCI.
This agreement requires a continued collaboration between Freeport and AMINEF, which began in 1998. As many as 26 Indonesian students have received opportunities to earn master’s degrees in the US through the Fulbright program, which is a US government funded exchange program.
“Freeport had recently given over $2.4 million to AMINEF in response to their recent commitment,” Michael Manufandu, a senior advisor from Freeport said.
“We need to inform the public that Freeport has good intentions to improve the quality of education in Indonesia, especially in Papua.”
AMINEF is a binational organization managing the Fulbright program and other educational exchange programs funded by the US and Indonesian governments.
It provides 200 grants every year for Indonesian students to study in the US. Meanwhile, there are 100 annual grants for American students to study in Indonesia.
Separately, Brian McFeeters, the US Embassy deputy chief of mission in Indonesia, said approximately 500 American students were currently studying in Indonesia.
“We have a Fulbright exchange program that brings students to Indonesia and we have other programs, like the English Teaching Assistant program, where Americans teach English for a year in Indonesian high schools,” McFeeters said, adding that the embassy would like to encourage more American students to come to Indonesia.
McFeeters was speaking at the annual US Graduate School Fair 2016 event in Jakarta, which aims to provide information about master’s degree programs in the US.
He told Indonesian students attending the fair to look at opportunities to study in the US during the event as the students could interact directly with representatives from universities in the US, such as Oregon State University, the University of Arizona and Yale University.
He also explained the US Embassy’s involvement at the event stemmed from the commitment to promote “people to people ties with Indonesia, meaning encouraging Indonesian students to study in the US and to send Americans to Indonesia, as well”.
There are about 18,300 Indonesian students studying in the US currently and the US aims to expand this number through various measures, such as hosting a graduate school fair. (vny)