Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana Yogyakarta and Hesston College Kansas expressed their interest to start the partnership through a meeting conducted on Friday, 12th April 2019. Visiting UKDW as one of his ‘target-partner university’, John Murray, Dean of Global Engagement Hesston College was accompanied by Wiwin Siti Aminah and Margaretha Endah Widyaningrum, the representatives from Taproot Gap Year.

Took place at Rectorat Meeting Room, the meeting was attended by Dr. Henry Feriadi as the Rector of UKDW, Rev. Handi Hadiwitanto, Ph.D. as the Vice Rector for Human Resources Capacity Building and Partnership, Rev. Paulus Sugeng Widjaja, MAPS, Ph.D. as the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, and Arida Susyetina, S.S., M.A. as the Director of Office of International Affairs.

In the opening, John Murray started the discussion with a short introduction about Hesston College. Hesston College is a Christian college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA, founded in 1990, located in Hesston, Kansas, United States. Hesston College provides the first and second years of undergraduate study with more than 50 top quality academic programs of study, including Bible and Ministry, Music (Music Education, Music Performance, and Music Therapy), Nursing, Graphic Design, Pre-Medicine, and Disaster Management.

Related to the existence of UKDW and its faculty, he said that there is a lot of chance to make cooperation and collaboration. UKDW has Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Theology and its location that near with Bethesda Hospital become a great point as an interconnected system.

Representing UKDW, Henry Feriadi explained that there are 3 programs to offer. First is SST (Study-Service Term). In this program, students will spend their 3 weeks-1 years to learn about Indonesia including Bahasa Indonesia, the culture of Indonesia, arts, religion, and education in Indonesia. Furthermore, in the service term, students will practice their knowledge and ability in communities. The second is a short program, a 2-week program held annually. The third program is a credit transfer program. The Hesston college can determine for itself which programs to follow, based on the needs of students.  Paulus Sugeng Widjaja, MAPS, Ph.D. and Arida Susyetina, S.S., M.A. explained that UKDW is also open to other collaborations such as research, conferences, traveling seminars, tailor-made programs, and specific theme activities, such as disaster management that become one of the main programs in Hesston College.

Talk about an international program owned by the Theology Faculty, namely the Intensive Study of Islam (Studi Intensif Tentang Islam /SITI), Rev. Handi Hadiwitanto, Ph.D. explained that at first, this program provided an opportunity for Pasteur and Christian leaders to learn more about Islam through seminars and also visits Islamic boarding schools or Islamic leaders. Starting 2 years ago, this program was expanded into SITKI which is also open to Islam leaders or students who want to learn more about Christian. Related to this, John Murray emphasized his interest in collaborating in this field. Speaking of interfaith issues, John Murray added, “Interfaith issues exist because of one group assume other groups. It is important to open up different types of conversations, like interfaith music concert to reduce it.”

At the end of the meeting, the Rector of UKDW said.”We have a good discussion, and I hope we can create something sustainable. I would like to see a small step for a beginning.” He also stated that it is important to follow up this meeting immediately with MoU as an umbrella agreement. [ai]