Turkish, Indonesian universities ink cooperation deal

By Pizaro Gozali

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) – Indonesian and Turkish private universities sign agreement to strengthen cooperation in academic and research sector.

A number of waqf-based campuses in Indonesia are cooperating with Turkish universities to strengthen their academic and research records.

The Chancellor of the University of Darussalam (UNIDA) Gontor Amal Fathullah Zarkasyi, the initiator of this collaboration, said this cooperation was initiated as many universities in Indonesia and Turkey are managed in a waqf manner.

"We have visited Turkey and at the same time we signed MoU with several universities," Amal told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

UNIDA Gontor has signed an MoU with tertiary institutions managed in Turkey, such as Istanbul Zaim University and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakif University.

"We also signed an MoU with the Istanbul Foundation in the field of culture," he added.

Through this cooperation, UNIDA Gontor has sent 16 students to study at Istanbul Zaim University.

"Students from Istanbul Zaim University can apply to study in our university for free,” said Amal.

Last June, UNIDA Gontor received 11 Turkish students and two supervisors to learn about Arabic, Islamic Studies and English.

– Establishing international associations

Besides UNIDA, a number of campuses and educational institutions in Indonesia also strengthening their educational waqf institutions, including the Indonesian Islamic University (Yogyakarta), Bandung Islamic University, Sultan Agung Islamic University (Semarang), Airlangga University (Surabaya), Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta, Darunnajah Islamic College in Jakarta, and Tazaka Modern Islamic Boarding School in Batang.

"All of us are private and waqf. Due to these similarities, we agreed to sign MoU," he said.

Along with UNIDA Gontor and Istanbul Zain University, they initiated the International Association of Endowment Education Institutions (IAWEI) on July 1 in Gontor, East Java.

American University of Cairo and the International Center for Education in Islamic Finance, Malaysia, attended the inauguration.

In a joint statement, IAWEI revealed their main goal is to develop educational waqf institutions.

"We really need to continue all efforts to develop educational waqf institutions which aims entirely at the growth and improvement of educational institutions in accordance with the mandate of each institution," said the statement.

This association is committed to strengthening cooperation in the form of a coordination forum to ensure that waqf development is carried out in a good and sustainable way.