Distinguished delegates, representatives, and students – thank you for inviting me to Universitas Pattimura today.
One of our most important objectives all over Indonesia is to expand our education cooperation by encouraging more Indonesian students to study in the U.S., urging more Americans to come here, and helping to catalyze partnerships between U.S. and Indonesian universities.
Indonesian universities are great partners in these goals. And we are very pleased that our relations with UNPATTI are strong and growing.
One of the most visible forms of our relationship with UNPATTI is the American Corner here. The American Corner is open, not only to the students at UNPATTI, but to the larger Ambon community, connecting our programs from Mission Indonesia directly with the people of Ambon and Maluku.
The Corner’s creative programming efforts are impressive, for example the beach cleanup at Pombo Island earlier this year to commemorate Earth Day. I also was delighted to hear of the many students who visited the Corner to participate in the September 2 Nationwide Spelling Bee.
And the Corner hosts excellent English language teaching and learning programs, conducted with our English Language Fellow Sultan Stover.
These and other programs hosted by The American Corner in Ambon demonstrate our commitment to supporting young people in Indonesia. The young people of Ambon are so dynamic; I understand you were one of the top groups to become members of our Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) membership sign-up competition.
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 are to the future of Southeast Asia.
About 65 percent of the population of this region is in your age range. We are proud to support this initiative that helps the brightest young leaders among you work together to help shape your future, particularly in the areas of civic engagement, education, the environment and entrepreneurship.
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.
This is just one way that the United States partners with students, particularly at UNPATTI. We look forward to our continuing engagement with UNPATTI, especially as it is a leader in Indonesia in the field of marine science.
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 is essential to maintaining the environment in which we all live. It’s responsible for recycling things like water, carbon, 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.
We hope that the future leaders in this field in protecting our environment and our oceans, especially in regards to research will emerge from UNPATTI.
Therefore, we want to continue to identify and strengthen U.S.-Indonesia public, private, and university science and technology partnerships.
Under the umbrella of our bilateral S&T agreement, the United States and Indonesia have committed to strengthening and deepening our scientific engagement through government to government and people to people ties. We are eager to explore and build new partnerships in the years ahead and – with your help — increase and facilitate the number of education, training, and joint research opportunities.
For example, Universitas Pattimura is one of USAID’s 15 university partners in the USAID Higher Education and University Partnership program to improve teaching and research.
USAID supported UNPATTI in developing and implementing the action research program, which has contributed to the provincial government’s efforts to sustainably develop and manage non-wood forestry products.
In addition, last year, we sent two Fulbright Senior Researchers to do short-term research in the United States in the marine science field from UNPATTI. Dr. Irma Kesaulya went to Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi to study biology, oceanography and marine ecology.
Dr. Sedercor Melantunan did a 3-month research program in biological science at Texas A&M University, College Station. In total, UNPATTI has had 3 Fulbright alumni.
We hope to continue to see more scholars in the science and technology field coming from UNPATTI and want to continue supporting programs related to marine science as it essential to Indonesia’s economy and development.
Our partnerships with universities our essential to learning from each other and exchanging ideas. I would like to thank the Rector, the Director of the American Corner, and all those involved in their work to help create stronger ties and bonds between the United States and Indonesia.