JAKARTA, May 16, 2023 – A reunion of McGill alumni at UIN Jakarta with Phil Buckley, a professor at McGill, showcases the enduring relationship between the two institutions. The meeting was held in UIN Jakarta’s Main Conference Room and aimed to revitalize and expand the existing collaboration, taking advantage of the fact that UIN Jakarta’s rector, Prof. Asep Saefudin Jahar, vice-rector of student affairs, Prof. Ali Munhanif, and a number of other alumni are now in positions of leadership.

The meeting opened with a remark by the vice-rector of cooperation, Din Wahid, Ph.D., that underlined the importance of the meeting due to sentiment reasons and also the potential of McGill University, which is now among the top-ranking universities in the world. Prof. Ali Munhanif acknowledged the significant influence of McGill alumni in various leadership roles within UIN Jakarta, and also three rectors in other Islamic State universities are McGill graduates.

Maila Rahiem, Ph.D., the head of the Center of International Cooperation that hosted the meeting, added that three of the rectors lived in Hutchinson Street, Montreal, during their study. The audience responded that Hutchinson Street should be a Montreal landmark with a sign reading “here lived the three rectors of Indonesian state Islamic universities.”

Prof. Asep Saepudin Jahar emphasized the need to diversify academic collaboration beyond Islamic studies, suggesting the addition of natural and social sciences, medical studies, and brief courses. Professor Phil Buckley noted that the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) should be renewed, and a more in-depth discussion should be scheduled to discuss the programs, such as dual degree programs, student mobility, and faculty member exchanges, in greater detail.

Prof. Andi Faisal Bakti, a McGill alumnus and faculty member at UIN Jakarta, proposed further opportunities for cooperation, including research collaborations, postdoctoral opportunities, sabbaticals, and the possibility of establishing a UIN Chair at McGill. These initiatives could facilitate academic publications and other joint ventures.

After the meeting, Phil visited the Center for International Cooperation for a more intimate discussion with a handful of alumni. Phil enthusiastically consented to become an adjunct professor at UIN Jakarta, and he will also ask Prof. Chris Manfredi, the provost of McGill University, to become an adjunct professor as well. As adjunct professors, both will virtually teach a course, serve as supervisors, and examine theses and dissertations. They will be facilitated to travel and stay in Jakarta for one week per year to deliver public lectures or speeches at UIN Jakarta-hosted conferences.

In conclusion, the meeting reaffirmed the mutual commitment of UIN Jakarta and McGill University to strengthen their academic relationship and to develop innovative collaboration opportunities for students and faculty alike.

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