Universitas Al Azhar Indonesia (UAI) was honored to host the Third Physical Meeting of Links in Europe and Asia for eDucation, Enterprise and Research (LEADER) Project, Erasmus Mundus, 12-14 January 2017. Dr. Ahmad H. Lubis, the Rector of UAI, opened the event and welcomed the 25 participants, from 14 countries: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latvia, and Greece, represented the European partners; and Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, China, Pakistan, DPRK and Indonesia, represented the Asian partner countries. Closing his speech, Dr. Ahmad H. Lubis wished that all participants would have fruitful and productive meeting, and outcomes of this meeting would benefit all parties, the European partners and the Asian partners, including UAI.
Following the Rector speech, Professor M. Savino, the General Coordinator of the LEADER Project, introduced each participant in his speech and reported on the current progress of the project implementation, and the potential opportunity of this project to UAI. The third speaker, Prof. Sukon Panichipant, the Joint Asian Coordinator, presented an update on activities of the Asian partners related to strategy, policy, project promotion in the region and strategy for enhancing project visibility. The meeting continued with presentations by each European University local coordinator on the list of applications received on the third cohort, number of applicants selected over the total number obtained from the selection, discussion on the problems and challenges faced during the second cohort, and other issues related to the program implementation.
In the second day, participants focused on selection process, selecting applicants that have met all or most of the requirements for the third cohort. After working long hours, at the end of the second day of the meeting, all participants were invited to the UAI–sponsored dinner, attended by UAI Rector, Vice Rector III, Dr. Nita Noriko, Head of the UAI Research, Development and Community Services, Ms. Nunung Nurhasanah, and several invited faculty members. While dining, participants were entertained with several Indonesian traditional dances: West Kalimantan and Bali dances, and a music performance by the UAI Angklung Kizuna Group. Most performers were UAI students and faculty members.
The Angklung Kizuna group performed Indonesian traditional songs Sajojo (from the province of West Papua), followed by an Italian song called Con te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye), a song that made international fame by Andrea Boceli and Sarah Brightman. The UAI-sponsored dinner was closed by Angklung Kizuna group played a dynamic song Poco-poco from North Sulawesi, where all participants, including Prof. Matteo Savino and Dr. Ahmad H. Lubis happily joined students and local organizers on the floor for a Poco-poco dance formation.
January 14, 2017 was the last day of the meeting – it was a cultural visit day. After breakfast, all participants joined the local organizers for a half-day tour of Old City of Jakarta, visiting Sunda Kelapa traditional harbor, Intan Bridge, Museum of the Bank of Indonesia, the Jakarta History Museum, National Monument, and finished at the Blok M shopping complex for souvenir shopping. During this tour, participants got the opportunity to watch a live puppet/wayang show performed by Ki Dalang Alex in his tiny but comfortable makeshift theater.
Few words from all the local organizers and faculty members of UAI that involved in this event: It has been quite an honor and pleasure to have all of you delegates from Europe and Asia visited and met in our humble campus. We are grateful for the opportunity to know all of you, even your family members for those who brought them along for the meeting. We found all of you were kind, nice and caring people to our country and cultures. We wish you a safe journey home, and may this friendship and memory last forever.
On behalf of all the Faculty members and the LO of UAI,
Hidayat Yorianta Sasaerila