MITRA Students at the 3rd Trilateral University Roundtable Meeting (TURM) 2016


Student Delegates at the 3rd TURM 2016

By : Richard Williams

Students of MITRA association took part in the TURM III hosted by Nusa Cendana University Kupang. Some of MITRA Undana students were involved as the organizing committee members and chosen as Nusa Cendana University delegations for the very 1st separated Student Roundtable Meeting.

The Trilateral University Roundatble Meeting (TURM) is an annual gathering and forum held as a form of cooperation among universities in Australia (The Northern Territory Region), Indonesia and Timor Leste. The TURM was firstly initiated by some leaders of the three nations and leaders of some universities of the three countries. Among the co- founders of TURM are the former prime minister of Republica Demokratika Timor Lorosa’e (RDTL) Mr. Xanana Gusmao and the rector of Nusa Cendana University, Prof. Ir. Fred Lukas Benu MSi., Ph.D. Up to now, the members of the TURM are Gadjah Mada University (UGM) Yogyakarta, Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) in Salatiga Central Java, Udayana University (UNUD) in Denpasar, Hassanudin University (UNHAS) in Macassar, Mataram University (UNRAM) in West Nusa Tenggara, Nusa Cendana University (UNDANA) in Kupang, Universidade Nacionale Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL) in Dili, Universidade Oriental Timor Lorosa’e (UNTAL) in Dili, and Charles Darwin University (CDU) in the Northern Territory of Australia.


Opening Speech by The Rector of Undana

The 3rd Trilateral University Roundtable Meeting was held from May 16th to May 17th with the focus on the Centre of Excellence (CoE) of each member university .Taking place at Sotis Hotel, the series of the event began on Saturday 15th May 2016 where the delegations of the participating universities of the TURM as well as other delegations from other observing universities and other invited participants were welcomed by the rector of Nusa Cendana University in a welcoming dinner at the ballroom of Sotis hotel. This year’s TURM also invited some observing universities such as Pattimura University (UNPATTI) Ambon, Halu Oleo University (UHO) Kendari, Sam Ratulangi University (UNSRAT) Manado, Artha Wacana Christian University (UKAW) Kupang, Widya Mandira Catholic University (UNWIRA) Kupang, State Polytechnic Kupang, Health Polytechnic Kupang, and Agriculture Polytechnic Kupang.

On the following day, the 3rd TURM was officially opened by the governor of East Nusa Tenggara province. The series of the sessions commenced with the roundtable discussion of the each leader of the member university who presented the progress they have made and the ongoing activities they are doing regarding the Centre of Excellence as agreed at TURM II. The session ran smoothly as expected and chaired by Prof. Ir. Fred L. Benu, MSi. Ph.D. and Prof. Sue Carthew B.Sc., Ph.D. from CDU. The next session continued with 2 separated discussions, one for the university leaders and one for the student delegations. In this session, 2 of MITRA students, Lilyen and Richard were assigned to chair the roundtable discussion while Claudya (Dije), Memix, Steven and Desy took roles as student representatives to share about students activities supporting the CoE of Undana which is Dryland Agriculture and Environment. Dije as the presenter delivered a presentation about CoE of Undana and introduced MITRA association to the rest of the attendees at once. Dije explained how MITRA which is now entering its 3rd year of existence as a platform of student empowerment and how another student bodies in Undana have done different activities to support the CoE of Undana directly and indirectly.


Lizerio , delegates from UNTL East Timor

Other presentations in this session were Social Justice and Development by Albert Karwur, (Satya Wacana Christian University Salatiga), Education and Language by Jhalia Ximenes and Lizerio Dias (National University of Timor Lorosa’e), Environment by Hanna Ling (Charles Darwin University), and Marine Sciences and Fisheries by Deliama (Hassanudin University). Albert, who is the chairman of UKSW’s student senate university board stressed on the importance of equality in infrastructure development, economic growth, and opportunities for the peripheral area of East Indonesia as the focus of UKSW’s CoE while Hanna Ling explained about Manganese project she is currently doing in West Timor. In their presentation, Jhalia and Lizerio elaborated about the efforts the university and the RDTL government have made as an attempt to enhance language proficiency of the people of Timor Leste. Deliama from UNHAS delineated the programs and activities UNHAS provides for students in supporting the development of its CoE. All of the presentations also covered several points such as the subject are of the activities supporting the CoEs, the challenges and key barrier, and strategies used in tackling down the key barrier encountered by each participating university. The discussion ended with the recommendations given by all of the representatives for the possibility of joint activities for university students such as exchange program, website creation for the student alumnae and alumni of TURM III, and suggestions for the conducting of student roundtable meeting at TURM IV.

After serious series of discussions, the meeting on the last day of TURM III was focused on the issues arising from day one. Led by Prof. Ir. Fred L. Benu, MSi., Ph.D. and Prof. Sue Carthew, B.Sc., Ph.D., the session went with the discussion on the issues on day one and addition of participating universities, also the possibility of establishing a consortium. In this session, Hanna Ling delivered the resume of student discussion on behalf of the TURM student representatives before the board of leaders of TURM. of the participating universities and representatives of observing universities reached some agreement on joint research for each participating university’s CoE and got to hear some responses from all participants and observers. The whole floor also agreed to have the 4th TURM to be hosted by Hassanudin University in Macassar, South Sulawesi.

This was followed by the official closing speech by the rector of Undana who also handed over the participation certification to the delegations which also marked the closing ceremony of the 3rd Trilateral University Roundtable Meeting 2016.

Right after the closing, the daytime activities for all the participants were conducted outside the hotel, where the participants went on a city tour where they departed from Sotis Hotel passing several landmarks of Kupang such as Ina Boi-Sasando Statue, Lippo Plaza, Nostalgia Park, Hypermart Bundaran PU and Liliba Bridge to the main office of Archipelagic Dryland Field Laboratory (Agriculture Centre) located at Undana’s campus in Penfui. Next on the agenda was Kupang Bay cruise. From the campus, the TURM participants went to the seaport of Ditpolair NTT in Bolok and took a cruise around Kupang Bay.

The involvement of MITRA students in this big event is definitely beneficial as the event enabled MITRA students to tighten the relations of its members with the leaders of Undana as well as contributed to the development of CoE of Undana. The TURM has been an invaluable chance for MITRA student to also support the 3 main pillars of MITRA since the official language of TURM is English and one of the topics discussed in the roundtable discussion (the CoE) is environment. As this event is an international event, the students of MITRA also get the international atmosphere where they were able to meet and interact with academicians, scholars, students, and of course university leaders from other countries.


A Day of Youth Empowerment


A Day of Youth Empowerment was an event to commemorate Indonesian Education Day. It was held on Saturday, April 30th, 2016 at Widya Mandira Catholic University Kupang. The he first was to commemorate Indonesian Education Day, the second was to share the information regarding scholarship programs, and the last but not a least was to strengthen relationship among students in Kupang. About 32 people from both MITRA (Mahasiswa Indonesia Timur Relasi Asing) and AIYA (Australia – Indonesia Youth Association) NTT involved in the collaborative committee, working hard to make this event successful. MITRA and AIYA NTT succeeded in gathering more than 200 participants for the event. Among these, there was the Head of English Study Program of WMCU, Dr. Drs. Kletus Erom, M.Hum, who came to give his support, and also LPDP and VDMS awardees. There were four panelists; Marselinus Ulu Fahik (Australia Awards Scholarship), Stevie A. Nappoe (Fulbright Scholarship), Alberth C. Soewongsono (LPDP Scholarship), and Elisabet A. Werang (VDMS Scholarship) shared their experiences and tips with the scholarships to the participants. This event was opened by Dana Nadia Mudin, the head of the committee and a speech delivered by a representative of AIYA NTT, Lilyen Sede. Before beginning the sharing session Maria Febriani Seran, the president of MITRA WMCU presented Timorese woven scarf for each panelist as gift.

The second agenda of this event was a sharing session delivered by the four panelists and Elia Simon as the moderator. The first panelist, Mr. Marselinus Ulu Fahik, alumnus of Australia Award Scholarship (AAS) shared about how to set up a good motivation, the criteria to obtain the scholarship, and also websites to get more information about AAS. The second panelist, Mr. Stevie A. Nappoe, the awardee of Fulbright Scholarship, shared about the criteria of Fulbright Scholarship, why it was interesting, and he also shared his strategies to get this scholarship. The third panelist and also the youngest panelist was Albert C. Soewongsono, the awardees of LPDP. He shared about how to write a good essay for LDPD, what is the group discussion in LPDP supposed to be, the strategies for on the spot writing, and the last one was how to face LPDP interview. In addition, he elaborated more about the differences between AAS and LPDP. The last panelist was Ms. Elisabet A. Werang, an alumnus of Van Deventer – Maas Stichting (VDMS). She shared about the history of VDMS, the activities as well as the criteria VDMS looks for from its grantees candidates.

The third agenda was a ten-minute mingling session. In this session, the participants had the chance to discuss personally with the panelists. If in the previous session, the participants tended to be reluctant to ask the questions, in the mingling session the atmosphere became friendlier and many eagerly approached the panelist they would like to ask to, getting information while enjoying provided snacks together.

The next agenda was the movie time. The selected movie was“The Ron Clark Story” (2006) directed by Randa Haines. Itwas about a teacher who taught in a messy classroom. The students in the classroom were naughty and they always got the lowest mark in that school, they seemed helpless in education. But the teacher, Mr. Clark did not give up on them. He had to face a lot of obstacles in that classroom but he kept trying and ensured everyone in his class that all of them were family, and a family does not leave each other. At the end, of this story, these students got the highest marks in their district for the standardized examination. The last agenda was taking pictures together with the participants and the committee. All of them were really happy; the participants were happy because they got much information and the committees were happy because they could make this event ran well. The participants took their certificates before leaving the room.

Hopefully, this event could encourage us to do more as the agent of change and as a member of educational society. May this event change our mindset to be better, and may this event encourage more students to put more effort to get a scholarship for higher education and as the result the quality of education In Indonesia will improve in the future.