Goshen College collaborates to form the Institute for Indonesian Academic Partnerships


originally published by Goshen College

Les Redfern, director of the Institute for Indonesian Academic Partnerships

GOSHEN, Ind. - Goshen College is launching the new Institute for Indonesian Academic Partnerships (IIAP) to foster a network between Anabaptist higher education institutions, other U.S. universities, Indonesian higher education institutions and nonprofits. 

The institute, formed in collaboration with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S., seeks to partner with organizations who share similar missions and values. IIAP’s areas of focus will include peace and reconciliation, interfaith dialogue and cooperation, environmental sustainability, ecological restoration, community health and development, and social entrepreneurship.

“This new institute seeks to promote collaborative projects that work toward sustainable livelihoods and flourishing communities with justice and equity, while bringing institutions in the United States and Indonesia into deeper and more reciprocal partnerships that build understanding and peace,” said Les Redfern, director of the IIAP who is based in Indonesia. 

Goshen College’s Indonesian Study-Service Term (SST) group in Bali in 2019

Jan Bender Shetler, director of global engagement at Goshen College, notes that this is an exciting new way of working toward international partnerships that build long-term reciprocal relationships. “We want to move away from the drive-by model of international engagement to one of deep mutuality resulting from multiple interactions involving faculty, students and community organizations moving in both directions from Indonesia and the United States. IIAP will make our Goshen College programs in Indonesia better, but a network of universities working toward a common goal will make us all better.”

Over decades, MCC’s programs have created an extensive network of relationships involving Indonesian Anabaptist-Mennonite churches and higher education institutions throughout Indonesia. Goshen College also has a deep relationship with Indonesian Anabaptist-Mennonites through 55 Indonesian alumni and the work of the college’s Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism (ISGA).

Since 1994, Goshen College has sent students to Indonesia for a semester-long Study-Service Term (SST), with the next unit going in 2024. In 2021, the college’s ISGA published the book “A Cloud of Witnesses: Celebrating Indonesian Mennonites” by John D. Roth, then director and now professor emeritus of history at Goshen College. As well, the college is one of very few in the United States to be home to an outstanding set of gamelan orchestra instruments from the Indonesian island of Java, and recently hosted a summer camp led by a Javanese gamelan master for those interested to learn to play these traditional percussion instruments.

“These relationships place the IIAP in a strategic position to work with partners in the United States and Indonesia who share an interest in education and collaboration in the institute’s areas of focus,” said Redfern. “We invite other higher education institutions and nonprofits, whether in the United States or in Canada, that are interested in joining our network to reach out to us for more conversation.”

Learn more about the IIAP at goshen.edu/iiap.

Goshen College is a nationally-ranked college in Indiana; renowned for its purposeful and integrated curriculum, its distinctive hands-on, real-world educational opportunities, and its commitment to creating positive change in the world. Located in the city of Goshen, the college’s 135-acre tree-filled campus is home to about 900 students, including more than 45% that identify as students of color or from countries outside of the U.S. It offers over 65 undergraduate areas of study; as well as best-in-class graduate programs in nursing, business administration, and environmental education. Named the #1 Bachelor’s College in Indiana by Washington Monthly and listed among Princeton Review’s Greenest Colleges, Goshen prides itself on providing an integrated and multifaceted education that connects arts with sciences, and foundation with practice — exposing students to multiple perspectives and encouraging them to think deeply and live purposefully. With 92% of graduates entering their careers, service work or pursuing further education within a year of completion, Goshen students graduate prepared to thrive in their lives and careers; and to make meaningful and measurable impacts on their communities and their relationships with others.

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