A Note From Policy Officer Tico Onderwater
Last week, the Embassy had the honor to welcome the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, H.E. Robbert Dijkgraaf, to Indonesia. Dijkgraaf led his first ever Knowledge Mission with a delegation that was comprised of chairs from Dutch knowledge institutions, aiming to strengthen academic cooperation and exchange between the Netherlands and Indonesia. Since Indonesia is a focus country of Dijkgraaf’s Ministry and because human capital development takes center stage on the agenda of the Indonesian government, the visit fell on fertile ground.
The Knowledge Mission kicked off with visits to the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (KemendikbudRistek). Both being particle physicists, there was clear chemistry between Minister Dijkgraaf and BRIN Chair Handoko. The encounter between Minister Dijkgraaf and his Indonesian counterpart, Minister Nadiem Anwar Makarim, again showed the good state of the bilateral relation on a personal level.
They not only share that they became Ministers without prior political experience – Makarim founded the Indonesian tech giant Gojek – but are inspirational speakers, too. During their ‘fireside chat’ at Erasmus Huis, Dijkgraaf and Makarim engaged with students on the role that technology plays nowadays and their plans to secure socially safe learning environments. Other parts of the program existed of Dijkgraaf’s keynote address at Universitas Indonesia, as well as meetings with students, alumni, the Indonesian Young Academy (ALMI) and researchers.
That the bilateral relationship in the field of knowledge and talent exchange is already excellent, was shown by the signing of many Letters of Intent and Memorandums of Understanding between both governments and knowledge institutions. In the coming years, we hope to witness the elaboration of these agreements in practical programs of cooperation.
We consider this first Knowledge Mission a big success. For me personally, preparing this visit was the main reason to be seconded to the Embassy’s Political Affairs Department from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. This particular form of knowledge and talent exchange will be followed up next year, when an Education and Science Attaché will be posted to the Mission in Jakarta.
Please stay tuned for updates on bilateral education and science cooperation in the meantime. In October, the Embassy and Nuffic Neso will organize the third Week of Indonesia Netherlands Education and Research (WINNER), for example.
All the best,