Out of the Box: Monash Indonesia

It’s been an exciting week for Monash University and anyone interested in higher education in Indonesia. During President Joko Widodo’s state visit to Australia, both the Prime Minister and the President announced that Monash University has been approved to establish Indonesia’s first foreign university branch campus: Monash Indonesia.

Monash Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner whose initiative this is, was in Canberra for the state banquet and able to brief President Jokowi directly (below).

It’s also been a big deal for me personally: for the past twelve months my main priority has been developing a viable plan for a branch campus that would be acceptable to both the Indonesian government and Monash University.

I’ll post more in coming weeks and months about bringing Monash Indonesia to life, but today I’d like to highlight just how quickly this initiative has come together and, in particular, just how supportive the Indonesian government has been.

Many senior figures across government took the time to meet with me and then used their office to clear a way ahead.

Tech entrepreneuer turned Education Minister, Nadiem Makarim (above), played a pivotal role. So too did the President’s Chief of Staff, Moeldoko (below) — ensuring that different agencies came together and ironed-out regulatory wrinkles in a timely way.

Research & Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro has been an early and active supporter. Also helpful was State Secretariat Minister, Pratikno. And Airlangga Hartarto — the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Golkar party boss and Monash alumnus — has been a constant ally and booster.

Getting a plausible plan together and getting it approved is one thing. Converting that plan into a successful and fully functioning graduate university will be quite another.

In pursuing that mission over the next several years I hope never to lose sight of the founding purpose of Monash Indonesia: to make a strong and distinctive contribution to the further social, economic and technogical development of Indonesia.

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