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Visit of the Ambassador Mayerfas to Leiden University

On Thursday 24 June HE Mr Mayerfas and Cultural Attache Mr Din Wahid visited Leiden University to meet with President Annetje Ottow.

Mr Mayerfas arrived in the Netherlands last November as successor of Ambassador I. Wesaka Puja. Due the Covid restrictions an earlier planned visit to Leiden was postponed. The visit of Leiden University was one the first working visits for the Ambassador instead of online meetings.

Mr Mayerfas was welcomed by Annetje Ottow at the Academy Building, followed by a short tour to the "Beeldentuin". One of the statues is that of Husein Djajadiningrat, the first Indonesian to have received a PhD degree back in 1913. The Pedel showed the "Zweetkamertje" and the room where the defences are held.

The programme continued with a meeting to share information about ongoing academic relations with our Indonesia counterparts.  Annetje Ottow highlighted the long standing cooperation of Leiden University with Indonesia. Maria Yazdanbakhsh (LUMC) informed the ambassador about the close cooperation in the field of medicine with several medical faculties in Indonesia, notably with Universitas Indonesia. The cooperation is not only focussing on research but also on student and staff exchange on a truly reciprocal basis. Adriaan Bedner (Law) provided an overview of the activities of the Van Vollenhoven Institute, the center of the study of Indonesian Law at the law faculty, and the output of scholary work by Indonesian and Dutch academics. The emphasis is not (only) on the law it self but more on the societal impact of Law in Indonesia.

The second part of the programme was a visit to Leiden University Library. After a quick glimpse at the Asian Library, director Kurt De Belder gave an introduction about the collections at the library, focussing on the large and extensive Indonesia collections. One of the many activities of the Library is to make the Indonesian collection digitally available in cooperation with Indonesian partners such as the National Library of Indonesia.

Herman Spaink (Sciences) gave a short presentation about the twin-lab that has been set up with the faculties of Biology and Pharmacy at the Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta with technical support from Leiden. The research is focussing on identifying natural products (to be found in Indonesia) as new cures for drug resistant diseases such as tuberculosis and diabetis type II.

Last but not least, Bart Barendregt (Social Sciences) gave an insight in a new project that will be started up on Artificial Intelligence and Islam, focussing on Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, for which he recently received a VICI grant of 1.5 million euro. It is an anthropological approach to research the impact of AI in daily muslim life. The programme was intended to give a first impression of the scope of ongoing (and future) cooperation with our Indonesian counterparts and to convey the appreciation to the ambassador for the continuous  support of the Indonesian Embassy to strengthen and expanding education and research cooperation. 

We look forward to his next visit!

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