Ambassador’s Remarks at LSU-USBI Partnership Launch

Bapak Putera Sampoerna, Founder of PSF and Sampoerna Strategic and family, Rector Aman Wirakartakusumah, Dean of USBI, Dean Richard Koubek, Dean of the LSU School of Engineering, and all of our US businesses, dignitaries, students, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure for me to be here to witness the signing of an ‘Academic Collaboration’ between the LSU School of Engineering and USBI.

Education is a top priority of the US Mission to Indonesia, and is a personal priority of mine as Ambassador. President Obama stated in his speech at the University of Indonesia, “. . . we want more Indonesian students in our schools, and more American students to come study in this country, so that we can forge new ties that last well into this young century.”

As many of you know, the United States offers an enormous range of opportunities for higher education. Currently, there are over 7,000 Indonesian students studying in the U.S. and that number grew by 8% last year. Given that our two countries are the third and fourth most-populous countries in the world, I think that number should be even higher, and our mission is committed to seeing it grow substantially.

Signings like this one, an educational agreement and a strategic partnership of academic institutions, are leading the way to achieve that goal and advance our strategic interests in many ways.

First, they advance education partnerships that can increase the flow of students in both directions.

Second, they will benefit trade, which has grown rapidly in recent years. A recent study by the American Chamber of Commerce found that U.S. companies invested 65 billion dollars over the last 8 years in Indonesia, making the United States Indonesia’s largest investor over that period.

But in order for those businesses to survive and thrive in a competitive global landscape, they need an educated workforce.

And, as investors in Indonesia’s future, they want to employ talented Indonesians to fill those roles. Agreements like this one will go a long way towards building that needed capacity.

The LSU School of Engineering is the fifth-fastest growing Engineering College in the United States, and it sends 80% of its graduates to work upon graduation. And they send them to top employers like Chevron, Dow Chemical, Weatherford and Halliburton. I believe all of those companies also have business here in Indonesia, so the correlation is significant.

So let me congratulate LSU on their agreement today with USBI, which has always been, and hopefully will continue to be, a staunch supporter of the U.S.-Indonesia relationship in all forms.

Pak Putera, Dean Koubek, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors under this agreement, and I thank you for the opportunity to witness this occasion.

Thank you very much, Terima Kasih.