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Cablegate: West Java -- Outreach at Indonesia's Most

VZCZCXRO8748
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #3083/01 3100713
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060713Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6933
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4451
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1502
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1432
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1067
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1974
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 003083

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/PD, ECA
NSC FOR EPHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPAO SOCI ID
SUBJECT: WEST JAVA -- OUTREACH AT INDONESIA'S MOST
PRESTIGIOUS PUBLIC UNIVERSITY

REF: A. JAKARTA 3058

B. JAKARTA 2241

1. (U) SUMMARY: During a November 5 visit to the University
of Indonesia (UI), poloff and econoff held a wide-ranging
dialogue with about 30 students and faculty. Emboffs engaged
the energetic audience in a spirited discussion about U.S.
foreign policy and the U.S. presidential race, and used the
occasion to underscore the vitality of U.S.-Indonesian
relations. Emboffs also met university officials, who
reviewed plans to improve UI by making it more globally
competitive. END SUMMARY.

OUTREACH AT KEY UNIVERSITY

2. (U) On November 5, poloff and econoff addressed an
energetic group of approximately 30 students and faculty
members from the International Relations Department at the
University of Indonesia's main campus in Depok, West Java,
Indonesia's most populous province. The large Depok campus
has 40,000 undergraduate students and sits atop 750 acres of
verdant, heavily-forested land (the university has a
satellite campus in nearby Jakarta). UI boasts a reputation
as Indonesia's most prestigious public university. It has
distinguished itself as the country's foremost training
ground for international affairs experts. According to Dr.
Nurani Chandrawati, the head of UI's International Relations
Department, only 10 percent of the applicants for the program
are accepted into a Department that has produced many of
Indonesia's foreign policy luminaries.

U.S.-INDONESIAN COOPERATION

3. (U) During the course of the outreach event, emboffs
repeatedly emphasized the multi-faceted nature of
U.S.-Indonesian relations, stressing the fact that
counter-terrorism cooperation represented only one component
of the dynamic, expansive friendship shared by the two
countries. The students demonstrated a sophisticated
understanding of the complexity of the relationship and
inquired about the potential impact of a new American
president on U.S.-Indonesian ties.

4. (U) In response to a question about the role of foreign
affairs in U.S. presidential elections, emboffs acknowledged
the political salience in the U.S. of the Iraq issue and
emphasized that the U.S. was committed to working with the
Iraqi people to develop a stable government. Emboffs noted
that regardless of the outcome of the 2008 election, the USG
would continue to support Indonesia's democratic evolution
while focusing on the future of the relationship, not the
past. When one student highlighted the fact that many
Indonesians vocally disagreed with many facets of U.S.
foreign policy, emboffs lauded the ability to protest as one
of the hallmarks of a vibrant democracy. The very fact that
Indonesians could vocalize their concerns served as manifest
evidence of the health of Indonesia's democracy.


INSTITUTIONAL DIRECTION

5. (U) Poloff and econoff joined Mission's public affairs and
cultural affairs officers for a meeting with UI's new Rector
(the head official at the university), Dr. Gumilar Rusliwa
Somantri. Dr. Gumilar outlined for emboffs his ambitious
plan to develop UI into a world class university. Among his
specific ideas was a University of Indonesia--International,
which would be a new sub-unit of the school designed to
attract more foreign professors and students, and to
introduce a more global perspective to the campus. He
suggested that if UI was to improve the quality of its
education it would have to raise more non-central government
funding and become more active with the international
community. While the challenges of carrying out such a bold
plan in the face of limited resources was daunting, Dr.
Gumilar expressed confidence and optimism in his ability to
further transform the university.

6. (U) Thanking emboffs for their outreach work, Dr. Gumilar
noted that as the 2008 U.S. presidential primaries and
national election approach, there will be great interest

JAKARTA 00003083 002 OF 002


among students in outreach events on the subject. Emboffs
affirmed Mission willingness to accommodate any speaking
requests.

HUME

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