ESTABLISHING ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIP CONSORTIUM BETWEEN UNRAM-UNDANA-CDU AUSTRALIA

Stage One overview:

To begin stage one of the project, a CDU delegation consisting of Dennis Shoesmith, Richard Curtis, Nathan Franklin, and Rachmat Hidayat, went to eastern Indonesia to conduct meetings with representations at the University of Mataram (UNRAM) in Lombok and at the University of Nusa Cendana (UNDANA) in Kupang.   The purpose of the visit was to establish a tripartite academic partnership consortium  between CDU, UNRAM, and UNDANA.  The consortium would be part of a project that investigates building governance capacity at the level of kabupaten (district) in selected districts in the provinces of Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) and Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT).  First, in the two provinces mentioned, a pilot project would be conducted on two medium-level performing districts, and later this would be compared to two poorer performing districts, technically defined as ‘deficient areas’ (daerah minus).

 During these preliminary discussions it was decided that an appropriate working title would be: ‘Local government capacity building in Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) and Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) with particular reference to the delivery of health and education services.’ 

 Chronological overview in Lombok:

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First meeting at UNRAM, from left: Richard Curits, Rachmat Hidayat, Dennis Shoesmith, Rector of UNRAM Pak Sunarpi, Nathan Franklin, environmental academic Ibu Emielda, and Vice-Rector of UNRAM Pak Suwardji.

On 15 January 2014, the CDU delegation met with Pak Sunarpi, the Rector of UNRAM, Pak Suwardji, the Vice-Rector, as well as various other academic staff.  Pak Sunarpi strongly supported the proposal for the consortium between CDU, UNRAM, and UNDANA.  He provided a letter of support for the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding.

 On 16 January, the CDU delegation meet with the Vice-Rector, Pak Suwardji, and academic staff from the faculties of Medicine, Education, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Environmental studies, to further explain the proposal through a PowerPoint presentation.  A discussion followed and it was decided what the appropriate working title would be (as mentioned above). For the pilot project it was discussed that the district of Central Lombok could be used as a case study to represent NTB, and later a poorer, ‘deficient area’ could be chosen for comparative analysis.  Preliminary discussions have mentioned North Lombok as the second district, which was created three years ago.

 On 17 January, the CDU delegation hired a car and driver to tour around the district of Central Lombok.  We travelled to the Bupati’s residential office, but it was closed.  However, nearby we visited the Local Government of Lombok Regional Development Planning Agency and we were welcomed by its head, Pak Erwien.  He explained that Central Lombok’s development was growing through the recently constructed international airport, which would be further complemented through investment in infrastructure, particularly in construction, tourism, and commence.

Chronological overview in Kupang:

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Initial consultation at UNDANA, Dennis Shoesmith explains the consortium project to Pak Benu, Rector of UNDANA.

On 19 January, the CDU delegation travelled to Kupang.  The following day we met the Rector of UNDANA, Pak Fredrik Benu, and other academic staff from the faculties of Medicine, Maritime and Fisheries, Business, Public Administration, Research Institute, Environmental studies, and others.  The meeting followed a similar pattern to the one conducted at UNRAM, with the same proposed working title, with the intention of obtaining support from the Rector of UNDANA, which was provided.

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Shortly after initial consultation with Pak Benu, the CDU delegation was given the opportunity to meet with academic staff and faculty heads to discuss the proposed project.

On 20 January, a smaller team from UNDANA participated in discussions to determine which districts would be appropriate to represent a medium-level performing district and a ‘deficient area’.  Timur Tengah Selatan (TTS) was chosen as the medium-level district in NTT, while Rote was a district mentioned to represent a ‘deficient area’ in the province.  Nathan was designated as the working team coordinator at CDU during this meeting.

Stage Two and Beyond:

 Details and outcomes of all the meetings were emailed to the academic staff from both UNRAM and UNDANA.  The members of the working team and the liaison coordinator at UNRAM have been determined, and UNDANA will finalise these matters soon.  To coordinate the three-way partnership and to facilitate forum discussion and better information sharing, a Wikispace was created (http://cduUNRAMUNDANAproject.wikispaces.com/). The international office at CDU has drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is now ready to be submitted to Rector Sunarpi and Rector Benu for their consideration and approval. Once the MOU is signed, the working party will develop a project design for submission to the rectors of UNRAM and UNDANA and the Vice-Chancellor of CDU for their approval. We will then seek external funding for the project and determine the terms of reference.

 It is expected that the project will require at least two years to complete.  This is a valuable opportunity through the tripartite agreement and the collaborative research project to build on existing programs between CDU and the two universities and to consolidate these relationships while contributing to the research capacity of our Indonesian partners.

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