Jakarta – The deputy head of mission of the Norwegian Embassy and his team met with the Rector of UIN Jakarta to discuss potential education and research collaborations, with a primary concentration on supporting the education of Afghan women with Norwegian funding.

Maila, head of the Center for International Cooperation, presented details about the Afghan Women’s Education Initiative. This program, which began a few years ago, was temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on women and youth, the initiative has collaborated with Middle Eastern countries. Maila elaborated on the available scholarship opportunities, emphasizing how studying in Indonesia will have a significant impact in Afghanistan.

During the question and answer session, Kristian Netland, Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, inquired about the number of students, the program’s duration, and the selection process. Maila responded that the proposal encompasses a small group of students, offering two-year master’s degrees and four-year bachelor’s degrees. The selection process will be proposed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the sole authorized channel between Indonesia and Afghanistan.

Kristian Netland expressed enthusiasm about the potential collaboration, stating, “We are excited about the prospect of working with UIN Jakarta and other partners to support Afghan women’s education. This initiative has the potential to create a meaningful impact on their lives and contribute to the development of their home country.”

The funding distribution would consist of contributions from UIN and a more substantial contribution from the contributing government. Valentin Musangwa, Second Secretary of the Norwegian embassy, further clarified that the available funds are only for this year, so the full amount will be calculated for the entire duration of the program.

Prof. Asep Saepudin Jahar, Rector of UIN Jakarta, emphasized the collaboration’s importance: “By working together, we can provide these students with valuable educational opportunities and help them become agents of positive change in their communities.”

The attendees discussed potential risks and the importance of educating and integrating students into the community. The Vice Rector of Cooperation, Din Wahid, emphasized that after completing their education, students should return home to develop their nation’s future. Prof. Amelia, director of the Institute of Research and Community Empowerment, noted that the majority of international women who studied at UIN Jakarta returned to their home lands.

The meeting concluded with an agreement to continue discussions and make further decisions in subsequent meetings. This collaboration could potentially provide significant support for Afghan women’s education, paving the way for a brighter future.