Published: 01 Mar 2024

President University will continue to improve its performance to play a greater role in diplomacy and earn foreign exchange through providing education to the global market. The effort, among others, is done by bringing more foreign students from various countries in the world to study at President University. And, this opportunity is very open. According to data from the study permit website at the Directorate of Institutions, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, President University has for six consecutive years, from 2017 to 2022, become the university with the highest number of foreign students in Indonesia for undergraduate level.

This was expressed by Handa S. Abidin, S.H., LL.M, Ph.D. when he was inaugurated as Rector of President University, Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at the Charles Himawan Auditorium, Building A, 5th floor, President University Campus at Jababeka Education Park, Kota Jababeka, Cikarang, Bekasi. Present at the inauguration were Dr. SD Darmono, Chairman of the Jababeka Group and founder of President University, Prof. Dr. Ir. Budi Susilo Soepandji, DEA, Chairman of the President University Education Foundation (YPUP), Prof. Dr. Jony Oktavian Haryanto, Expert Staff to the Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology for Innovation, who also serves as Secretary of YPUP, Justin Endramukti, Treasurer of YPUP, Prof. Dr. Chairy, Rector of President University (2022-2024) and vice-rectors, as well as the board of directors of Jababeka Group.

Also, present at the inauguration ceremony were Dr. Drs. Chandra Setiawan, MM, Ph.D. who is also Chairman of the YPUP Board of Trustees, Prof. Dr. Ir. Joko Santoso, Director General of Higher Education (2010-2012) and Rector of ITB (2005-2010), who along with Ibnu Hadi, M.Ec, Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam (2016-2020), and Abdul Wahid Maktub, Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar (2003-2007), became advisors to the Rector of President University. Also present were Prof. Stephen G. Barnes, professor of law from Pennsylvania State University, USA, former Rector of President University and YPUP board members, business partners of President University, alumni, and other guests.


University Needs to Inspire

In his speech at the inauguration ceremony, SD Darmono said that President University must not stop developing itself to continue to be better. "To be able to continue to progress and develop, we need to recruit young people," Darmono said. That is also what President University considered when appointing Handa S. Abidin as Rector. Handa is currently 38 years old.

In order for President University to continue to advance and develop, continued Darmono, in addition to recruiting many young people, another key is innovation. "Our country is now very serious about encouraging innovation. And, President University must participate in providing support," said Darmono. In order to be able to continue to innovate, he said, the role of research is very important. "Where do research ideas come from? From inspiration. And, the inspiration comes from universities, including from President University," he explained.

On the occasion of giving opening remarks at the inauguration of the new rector, Prof. Budi Susilo also expressed his gratitude and highest appreciation to Prof. Chairy. "Prof. Chairy led President University when Indonesia was not completely free from the Covid-19 pandemic. So, the situation was still very tough. Even so, President University proved to be able to survive, and even in the 2023 academic year was able to accept more than 2,300 new students. This is the largest number of new students in the history of President University," said Prof. Budi Susilo.

In addition, according to Prof. Budi Susilo, during 2022-2023, President University also succeeded in establishing the Faculty of Medicine and opening several new study programs. "That is an extraordinary achievement," he said.

In the future, Prof. Budi Susilo hopes that the new rector of President University will continue to increase its extracurricular activities through various student clubs. "For example, the music club as a seed for the formation of the President University Symphony orchestra, golf club, tennis, and various other sports activities," said Prof. Budi Susilo. He also emphasized that President University is probably the only university that teaches golf to its students.

Prof. Budi Susilo continued, "President University also needs to encourage its students to form clubs that are willing to help the community in the event of a disaster." In addition, according to Prof. Budi Susilo, another thing that needs to be improved is to encourage students to interact well with the surrounding community and the international community.

In his message, Prof. Budi Susilo also emphasized that the change of leadership in every institution is a common thing, while at the same time providing its challenges. "Along with the development of technology, changes are now rolling faster and faster. This condition is certainly a challenge for every institution, especially in preparing prospective leaders. That is why after being appointed, the first and main task of a leader is to prepare his successor," said Prof. Budi Susilo. Only in this way, he continued, can every organization continue to survive and grow sustainably.


Go Global

When giving a speech at the handover ceremony, Prof. Chairy expressed his gratitude and highest appreciation to SD Darmono, all foundation administrators, vice-rectors, deans, heads of study programs, as well as all lecturers and staff, and all stakeholders for their support. "Thanks to the cooperation and support of all parties, President University can get through difficult times, and now continues to grow and develop," he said. He said again, "This kind of compact and solid cooperation must be maintained."

In his inauguration speech, Handa Abidin elaborated in more detail on his desire for President University play a role in diplomacy and earn foreign exchange through education. He said, "In the future, we want the number of international students at President University to increase to around 30%." With the increasing number of foreign students studying at President University, he continued, "Our efforts to conduct foreign diplomacy and earn foreign exchange through education will be effective."

Foreign students who study at President University. Handa said, that after graduating and returning to their countries, can tell their experiences about Indonesia. "They can become Indonesian ambassadors abroad," he said. Currently, there are foreign students from 23 countries studying at President University.

President University, Handa said, actually has a long history in this matter. "Since the first year of lectures, in 2002, many foreign students have studied at President University," he said.

In order for more foreign students to study here, said Handa, President University must go global. For this reason, he has planned several steps. First, President University must establish more cooperation with various international institutions. "These institutions can be universities, multinational companies, or various other organizations," said Handa.

Second, there should be more study programs at President University that are internationally accredited. Third, President University must be included in the rankings published by various international ranking agencies. "We are currently making efforts to realize this," he said.



Another thing that concerns Handa is the urgency of digitalization. He said that currently, President University's new students come from Generation Z. "They are a generation that has been familiar with various digital devices since childhood, or commonly referred to as digital natives. In order to serve them better, digitization and the strengthening of Artificial Intelligence at President University is a must. This is both in the teaching and learning process and various other aspects," he explained.

Handa was born in Jakarta in 1985. If we refer to the Higher Education Database, among all rectors in Indonesia who served until January 31, 2024, whose universities are accredited A or Superior by the National Accreditation Board-Higher Education, Handa is the youngest rector. When appointed as Rector of President University, Handa was 38 years old.

Handa completed his undergraduate education at the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia. He then continued his master's degree at George Washington University Law School, USA, and his doctoral degree at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Handa joined President University in 2016 with the position of Vice-Chancellor. His last position was as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

As well as being a lecturer at the Law Study Program, Faculty of Humanities, President University, Handa is an advocate. His areas of expertise are in business law and international law. Handa is also currently a member of the Ethics Commission at the Indonesian Joint Funding FinTech Association.


About President University:

President University (Presuniv) is one of the best private universities in Indonesia, accredited A by the National Accreditation Board for Higher Education (BAN-PT). Presuniv, which was initiated by SD Darmono, Chairman of Jababeka, and Prof. Donald W. Watts, President of Bond University, Queensland, and Vice Chancellor of Curtin University, Western Australia, began operations in 2002.

Presuniv currently has 8,000 students from 34 provinces across Indonesia as well as foreign students from various countries. Referring to the website https://izinbelajar.kemendikbud.go.id/, Presuniv is listed as the university with the most undergraduate foreign students in Indonesia.

Presuniv's mission is to be an educational institution that prepares future leaders. Located in the middle of the Jababeka industrial area, which is home to more than 2,000 national and multinational companies, these companies offer internship opportunities, study and research subjects for students and lecturers at Presuniv. The number of companies also allows Presuniv students to practice their skills in entrepreneurship.

Presuniv currently has five faculties, namely Faculty of Business, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Computer, Faculty of Engineering, and Faculty of Medicine. The five faculties house 21 undergraduate study programs and three postgraduate study programs. (JB Susetiyo, PR Team. Photo: JB Susetiyo)