|Rektor UMM Muhadjir Effendy memberikan cinderamata kepada duta besar Ameroka untuk Indonesia Scoot Marciel
United States Ambassador for Indonesia Scott Marciel again released US volunteers who had been joint Pre-Service Training (PST) at University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM). A total of 44 Peace Corps volunteers were released by the ambassador and they were seen by the Minister of PPN/the Head of The Development and Planning Agency (Bappenas) Prof. Dr. Armida Alisjahbana and the representation from Muhammadiyah Center Board Dr. Abdul Mu’thi at Campus III of UMM on Friday (6/15).
This year was the third cohort for Peace Corps to have PST at UMM. From year to year, the number of volunteers who were sent to UMM increased. Last year, Marciel released 29 volunteers, while in 2010, he released only 20 volunteers. “Next year, we will send for about 60 volunteers here,” said Marciel.
Peace Corps was an organization founded by the President of JF Kennedy in 1961. Up to now, there were more than 200.000 US citizens were joint the program to have a community service in 139 countries in the world. After its broke-up in 1965, Indonesia just began its new collaboration with Peace Corps in 2010. Then, the Coordinator of Peace Corps for Indonesia chose UMM as a host of PST after he surveyed several campuses in Indonesia.
“We find anything we want here at UMM. The campus, the good relation with host family, the lecturer, the infrastructure, and the other eligibilities are counted here,” said the Director of Peace Corps for Indonesia Ken Puvak.
As it was in the volunteers of cohort I and II, they would be released to have a community service as a teacher in many schools in East Java. During the PST, the volunteers had been trained to adapt to Indonesian language and culture by living in houses at countryside around Batu. For three months, they had to learn the culture even the song of Indonesia Raya continuously.
“I even joined a neighborhood lottery, Islamic preaching, and mothers gathering,” said Okhee Shim, one of the volunteers. He then continued, “Whereas, I don’t even know Indonesian language at all other than the sentence of good morning, good afternoon, good night, and my name is…”.
The Minister of PPN/ The Head of Bappenas the one who in charged for a placement of the program hoped, the program would give some big benefits for Indonesian community. “Make use of this rare chance to dig out more about the culture and the language from the guest of ours,” said Armida.
Of the same mind were delivered by Marciel. “We do believe, through this collaboration, it will establish good relationship between America and Indonesia. In this, the roles of Peace Corps volunteers are the main important element for us to build mutual understanding between two countries,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Rector of UMM Muhadjir Effendy was proud of the US belief to choose UMM as the one institution in establishing the PST. For the success of this cohort, it would come the others next volunteers here. Muhadjir said, it strengthen the proof that UMM was counted for this program. “I am positive that the contact between people to people will be better in the future,” delivered the rector.
Abdul Mu’thi who came to represent the Head of Muhammadiyah Central Board that in the moment was attending the conference in South Korea stated, Muhammadiyah had been long time of being an international class organization. Muhammadiyah involvement in some world forums along with the acknowledgment of world organization to Muhammadiyah universities was one of confidences that Muhammadiyah was a world-class community organization.
“Besides, Muhammadiyah has also taken a part in the attempt of reconciliations in conflict countries. In this, Muhamadiyah has also given scholarship for Thai students, said Mu’thi gave an example.
After evaluating the implementation of Peace Corps in Indonesia, Bappenas planned to involve the Ministry of Education and Culture with the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the future. For the Peace Corps’ contribution was teaching at schools whether public or even Islamic one, the involvement of those two ministries were important.
“In addition, for the following year, number of volunteers will be increased. The placement region will also be enlarged not only in the area of East Java but also Banten and West Java,” declared Armida. (nov/nas/t_vik)