Remarks by Ambassador Blake at Hatta-Sjahrir Marine Sciences and Fisheries College, Banda
Distinguished delegates, representatives, and students – thank you for inviting me to Hatta-Sjahrir Marine Sciences and Fisheries College today.
One of our most important objectives in Indonesia is to expand our education cooperation, catalyze partnerships between U.S. and Indonesian universities, and encourage more Indonesian students to study in the United States.
Indonesian universities are great partners in achieving these goals. And we are very pleased that Hatta-Sjahrir Marine Sciences and Fisheries College is partnering with a top U.S. university, Rutgers.
In 2013, we established the New Partnership for Marine Conservation, Cultural Preservation, and Educational Capacity Building in Eastern Indonesia.
Four U.S. and Indonesian educational and civil society organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on November 2013 here in Banda Neira.
This MOU forged a new partnership between Rutgers University in the United States and this college, the Hatta-Sjahrir College of Marine Science & Fisheries.
The Banda Neira Cultural and Heritage Foundation and the Jakarta-based Kehati Foundation for Indonesian Biodiversity are also members of this partnership.
This partnership established a Joint Council to advance marine and coastal research in Maluku and support cultural preservation in Banda Neira, which is a strong candidate to be a UNESCO heritage site given the important role the Banda Islands played in the spice trade.
The Joint Council also works to increase educational capacity in Banda Neira through exchanges and research between Rutgers and the Hatta-Sjahrir College of Marine Science.
The partnership that includes Rutgers and Hatta-Sjahrir is about more than fostering educational exchange. The partnership also focuses on marine conservation, which is critical for Indonesia, the United States, and the world.
Our Oceans are an indispensable resource for global food security, given that more than 3 billion people – 50 percent of the people on this planet – in every corner of the world, depend on fish as a significant source of protein.
The ocean also is essential to maintaining the environment in which we all live. It’s responsible for recycling things like water, carbon, and nutrients throughout the ecosystem, so that we have air to breathe and water to drink. And it is home to literally millions of species, particularly here in Indonesia.
But our oceans are also under threat, from illegal fishing, from ocean pollution and ocean trash, and from ocean acidification due to climate change. So we need all of you talented Indonesians with knowledge in marine sciences to be leaders to address these threats.
We hope that all of you will use the expertise you have gained here Hatta-Sjahrir Marine Sciences and Fisheries College to become leaders in the fields of researching and protecting our environment.
We will rely on you to preserve the ocean environment that is so vital to Indonesia, the United States and the world.
I’d like to tell you about another U.S. program that you may be interested in joining, and that’s the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative, or YSEALI.
YSEALI supports the innovative ideas of young leaders age 18-35 to solve some of the toughest problems facing your generation. It is a program that demonstrates how important young people like you are to the future of Southeast Asia.
Through YSEALI, partnerships are developing between young community leaders and social entrepreneurs among all the nations of ASEAN. We want to build on these partnerships and create more.
Anyone can become a YSEALI member. And it’s free and easy. Join YSEALI by visiting our website online at yseali.state.gov, and you will have access to grant competitions as well as workshops and events around the region and in the United States.
These are just a few ways in which the United States partners with students, particularly at this college. We look forward to our continuing engagement with you, especially as leaders in Indonesia in the field of marine science.
Our partnerships with universities are essential to learning from each other and exchanging ideas. I would like to thank the Rector, students, and all of you involved in this vital work that creates ever stronger bonds between the United States and Indonesia.