Jakarta, August 3, 2006 — Today in Jakarta, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, The Asia Foundation, and The United States Library of Congress’ Regional Office for Southeast Asia signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a joint books program. In the first two years of the program, The Asia Foundation will contribute over 50,000 books worth approximately US $2 million (Rp 18 billion) to the libraries of six state Islamic universities. This collaboration will foster the exchange of scholarly information between the academic community in Indonesia and graduate programs focusing on Indonesian studies in the United States. This shared information will improve access to high-quality Indonesian research for scholars in the United States, assist Indonesians in keeping abreast of research conducted in the United States, and foster cooperation between research libraries in the two countries.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Rector, Azyumardi Azra, The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative, Douglas Ramage, and The United States Library of Congress Field Director, William Tuchrello.
Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Rector Azyumardi Azra welcomed this collaboration by saying, “It will make a significant contribution to the collections of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University’s main research library and its 48 study program libraries as well as the libraries of the other state Islamic universities and institutes. This will provide students and academics at these institutions with access to current, high quality academic publications in a wide range of subject areas.”
The recent introduction of study programs to supplement Islamic studies disciplines within the state Islamic universities identifies a strong need for library development as well as access to the most recent research from outside Indonesia for students attending these institutions. As the libraries in these six universities grow, this collaboration will expand to include participation from the state Islamic institutes (IAIN) and state Islamic colleges (STAIN).
The Asia Foundation Country Representative Douglas Ramage added, “Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University is a valued long-term partner of The Asia Foundation and one of Indonesia’s foremost higher education institutions. The high quality of the research produced by the state Islamic universities and institutes in the area of Islamic studies make it a natural partner for both The United States Library of Congress and The Asia Foundation, in the effort to provide broader access to Indonesian research in this area.”
An initial contribution of 4,000 books worth over US$150,000 (Rp 1.35 billion) will be made in August 2006. Following this, two shipments per year, each containing over 12,000 books, will be sent to Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University and distributed to state Islamic universities and institutes. These books are new publications donated by American academic publishers and managed through The Asia Foundation’s longest running program, Books for Asia. Since 1954, Books for Asia has distributed more than 41 million books, software programs, and other educational materials to more than 50,000 institutions in 40 countries.
Under this partnership, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University will provide the United States Library of Congress with copies of books and scientific journals in both print and electronic form produced by the state Islamic universities and institutes.
The United States Library of Congress Field Director William Tuchrello said, “Indonesian state Islamic universities and institutes have for many years produced high-quality books and journals which showcase research conducted by individuals and research centers in these institutions. It is anticipated that this exchange will enable students and researchers working outside Indonesia to access scholarship from Indonesia in their area of study.”
The books, journals and electronic media contributed by the state Islamic universities and institutes will be placed in the collection of the Library of Congress as well as in the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago. “The United States Library of Congress will also improve access to these publications by providing electronic copies where possible,” Mr. Tuchrello confirmed.
About Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University
Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) is a leading Islamic research university which aims to produce high-quality research in order to compete at both the national and international levels. To ensure that graduates have both the professional expertise to work effectively in their chosen fields, as well as strong morals, the curriculum integrates the study of religion with science and technology. The university was established in 1957 as the State Academy of Religious Sciences (ADIA). In 1963, it was converted into the State Islamic Institute (IAIN), and in 2002 it became the first State Islamic University (UIN). In 2007, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University will celebrate its Golden Anniversary. For more information, visit: http://www.uinjkt.ac.id.
About The Asia Foundation
The Asia Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region. The Foundation supports programs in Asia that help improve governance, law, and civil society; women’s empowerment; economic reform and development; and international relations. Drawing on 50 years of experience in Asia, the Foundation collaborates with private and public partners to support leadership and institutional development, exchanges, and policy research.
With a network of 17 offices throughout Asia, an office in Washington, D.C., and its headquarters in San Francisco, the Foundation addresses these issues on both a country and regional level. In 2006, the Foundation provided more than $53 million in program support and distributed 920,000 books and educational materials valued at $30 million throughout Asia.
About The United States Library of Congress
The United States Library of Congress has the world’s largest library collection, with more than 130 million publications, including more than 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recorded materials, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million transcripts. The library’s primary mission is to provide members of the United State Congress and the public with information and resources to enhance their knowledge and the knowledge of future generations. The library’s resources are also available to the international scholarly community. The Library of Congress has several representative offices overseas. The Jakarta representative office, established in 1963, serves as the regional headquarters for South-East Asia and manages offices in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila. For more information, visit: http://www.loc.gov and http://www.locjkt.or.id.