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President Weekly Letter [2007-07-09]

9 July 2007

Dear Members of the AIT Community,

• Renewal of Newsletter: After a 3-week respite it is great to be back at AIT and to renew the communication with members of the AIT Community, Board and Executive Committee, alumni and partners through the weekly newsletter. As reported earlier, I undertook official visits to the Netherlands and Azerbaijan, during the second week of June, following which I went on a week long vacation with the family to Sweden.
During my stay in Sweden, I met with Mr. Folke Hjalmers, former Director of International Relations at Chalmers University and Senior Advisor to Chalmers Industriteknik, who has considerable experience in fund raising and promotional campaigns in the context of universities, and also assisted AIT in the development of a fund raising master plan. We discussed ways in which we could further engage the private sector from Scandinavia and other European countries as part of our fundraising efforts. I also met Dr. Edward Jobson, Environmental Director, Volvo, Sweden and discussed the S-9 initiative which we are undertaking in partnership with Volvo.
Highlights on some of the outcomes of my visits to the Netherlands (accompanied by Vice President for Development and Resources Dr. Khin Ni Ni Thein) and Azerbaijan are provided below.

• Outcome of Visit to the Netherlands, 14-15 June: On 14 June I together with the Vice President for Development and Resources Dr. Khin Ni Ni Thein met with Mr. Arjan Schuthof, Head Education and Development Division, and Mr. Hillard Tempelman, Policy Officer, Education and Development, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Prof. Richard Meganck, Rector and Director of UNESCO-IHE; Director of the Partnership for Water Education and Research (PoWER) and Prof. dr. ir. Jacob Fokkema, Rector of the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) http://www.tudelft.nl. A programmatic approach for long-term partnership building was discussed at the Ministry and we have agreed to further work on the modalities and develop a collaborative framework. TU Delft has expressed keen interest in collaborating with AIT and we have agreed to jointly identify specific areas in which there could be partnerships.
We also attended the symposium on "Water for the Changing World: Enhancing Local Knowledge" on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of UNESCO-IHE on 15 June. A MoU between AIT and UNESCO-IHE was signed on the same occasion and graced by The Prince of Orange HRH Willem-Alexander; Mr. Marcio Barbosa, Deputy Director General of UNESCO; Hon. Maria Mutagamba, Minister of State for Water of Uganda and Chair of the African Minister's Council on Water (MCOW) and other dignitaries which included H.E. Abdul Rahman Fadhl Al-Eryan, Minister of Water & Environment, Republic of Yemen; Dr. Roestam Sjarief, Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Works of Indonesia, Mr. Kyul Ho Kwak, President of K-Water, and former Minister of South Korea; Mr. Jacques Labre, Vice President of SUEZ; Mr. Ng Han Tong, Managing Director of Singapore Public Utility Board; senior representatives from ADB, the World Bank, UNEP and the World Water Council among others. The MoU will pave the way for collaboration between AIT and UNESCO-IHE in areas of water education, research, capacity building and training, staff and faculty exchange, partnership building, and dual degree programmes.
We also met with two AIT alumni living in the Netherlands, namely Dr. Guang Ye, Assistant Professor, Microlab, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and Mr. Mukesh Sethi, Financial Analyst, who is working for the Shell Company.
During 17-19 June Vice President Ni Ni participated in the PoWER founder members' meeting as an observer representing AIT during which AIT's application to join PoWER was considered and unanimously approved. Membership in the global PoWER network will enable AIT to further enhance its thematic research area in water through research and training in Asia together with its other partners.
Vice President Ni Ni also met with the senior representatives from the World Bank Institute (WBI) and followed up on some of initiatives discussed earlier this year with WBI. Officials from WBI will be visiting AIT during the second week of October 2007 to discuss further collaboration. She also met with Mr. Peter Kassen, Director Asia Pacific, WL Delft Hydraulics, http://www.wldelft.nl and explored the possibility of guest lecturers and professors from WL Delft visiting AIT and collaborations in research and special projects.

• Outcome of Visit to Azerbaijan, 18-21 June: I together with Mr. Nico Barito, Senior Fellow, UNITAR undertook a mission to Baku, Azerbaijan, at the invitation of the Government, to meet with relevant government ministries and agencies, private sector representatives, and other partners, in exploring opportunities for collaboration in training and related capacity building programs which AIT and UNITAR could undertake in partnership with other stakeholders. All costs related to my visit to Baku were supported by the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Some of the outcomes of our meetings and discussions are highlighted below:
1. Ministry of Communication & Information Technology (MCIT)
http://old.mincom.gov.az/new/index.aspx?lg=2: Met with H.E. Prof. Ali Abbasov, Minister; Deputy Minister; Head of Finance & Economic Analysis; Head of Legal & HR Department and discussed areas in which AIT and UNITAR could partner the Ministry in their ongoing efforts towards strengthening the country's IT infrastructure. We were also briefed on the UNDP project on "National e-governance Network Initiative" in which there could also be an important role for AIT and UNITAR.
I am pleased to report that the proposal on "Capacity Building for Education in ICT in Azerbaijan" jointly developed by the Government of Azerbaijan, AIT and the International Institute of Geo-Information and Earth Observation (ITC) Netherlands has been endorsed by the cabinet and was officially submitted by the Government to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 20 June.
2. Ministry of Transport: Met with the Chief of the Finance & Credit Department, and identified areas in which there could be possible collaboration through training and capacity building in public transportation, intelligent transportation systems, traffic planning, bio-gas based transportation etc. The Government also has a longer term plan to establish an intelligent logistic center in Baku, under the Ministry, wherein there could be an important role for AIT and UNITAR.
3. Ministry of Energy: Met with the Deputy Minister and discussed ways in which AIT could partner and assist the Ministry in the further promotion and implementation of the renewable energy initiative which was approved by the Government in 2004.
4. Azerbaijan Technical University (ATU) http://www.aztu.az/: Met with the Rector, Prof. Havar Mammadov and jointly agreed to the hosting by ATU of an introductory seminar (by the end of 2007) for AIT and UNITAR to meet and interact with representatives from the private sector in identifying areas in which there could be mutually beneficial partnerships. ATU will assist in all the related logistics and arrangements with funding for the introductory seminar to be supported by UNITAR.
5. Ministry of Tourism: Met with the Chief of the Tourism Development Department, and Head of Division of the Internal & International Tourism, and discussed ways in which AIT and UNITAR could assist in the tourism sector which is fast expanding, with more than 1.2 million tourists visiting the country in 2006. There is a need for Azerbaijan to upgrade its existing infrastructure and facilities as well as provide adequate training to both the public and private sector within the tourism industry.
6. Heydar Aliyev Foundation http://www.heydar-aliyev-foundation.org/index_e.html : We met with the Executive Director of the Foundation and were briefed on the activities of the Foundation which supports projects and promotes initiatives in science, education, culture, health, sports, ecology etc. and is also planning to set up a university in Baku. We were able to present to the Executive Director the capacities of AIT and UNITAR, and expression of interest on our part to partner the Foundation through projects in which there could mutual collaboration and synergies.
Mr. Nico also delivered a keynote address at the Infocom workshop hosted by Nakhcivan State University in the southern province of Nakhcivan and a proposed program on Global Partnership on Infocom has been signed between UNITAR and MCIT (Department of Strategic Planning and Scientific Potential) at Nakhchivan.
He also discussed economic development prospects and capacity building partnerships with the Director of Foreign Investment and Coordination of Technical Assistance at Ministry of Economic Development, in addition to meetings with the Minister of Culture and Tourism; President of Azerbaijan Export & Investment Promotion; and the First Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Azerbaijan.
Our partnership with the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan is on strong footing and prospects for future collaboration look very promising, especially with the expression of strong support and interest from the Government and other partners.
If there is a declaration of common interest on the part of the ministries we also discussed the possibility of UNITAR taking the lead role in mobilizing funding under the UN platform from the Azerbaijan Government, other governments, foreign private sector investing in Azerbaijan (as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility strategies) for the conduct of relevant training and capacity building programs.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Nico, for partnering AIT and for his continued assistance and support to the Institute through his network and linkages. Mr. Nico is also a member of our AIT Center in Indonesia Steering Committee as well as Institute-level Advisory Board.

• Visit-AIT Day Draws 196 Thai Prospective Students: The 'Visit-AIT Day' held on 2 July 2007 drew 196 prospective Thai students. Aiming to share a glimpse of AIT, applicants were able to partake a slice of campus life while meeting students, faculty and staff from various nationalities. Sponsored by the Royal Thai Government Coordination Office and coordinated by the Student Office, the one-day event was envisioned to assist applicants in this crucial period when they finalize their decision to further their study at the Institute. Of the 196, 124 are eyeing to enter the School of Engineering & Technology; 52 have applied to the School of Environment, Resources and Development; while 20 have lodged their intention to get admission to the School of Management for August 2007 semester. The event also paved the way for parents to learn how their children will spend their life at the institute for the next 2 or more years.
The activity covered two sessions. The morning session jumped off with a 30-minute English mini-test, which was administered by Mr. Matthew Laszweski, Language Center Director. The mini-test gave applicants a try-out to the AIT English Interview Test, which can substitute TOEFL, TOEIC or IELTS to comply with the English proficiency requirement for admission. Out of the 69 applicants who did the try-out, 26 were assessed ready to take the actual test while 43 were advised to practice a bit more. The 43 who were not ready will be given a 1-day coaching workshop (free of charge) to facilitate their passing the AIT Interview test.
The latter part of the morning consisted of presentations on the AIT academic life which was delivered by Professor Peter Haddawy, Vice President for Academic Affairs; financial supports for Thai students from the Royal Thai Government (RTG), by Professor Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, faculty representative to RTG; student learning support facilities and services by Ms. Ann Lopez-Fontanilla, Head of Student Office, while a display of off-classroom student activities was shared by Mr. Rathsayam Tiyarathtagam, Student Union President.
One of the highlights of the morning programme was a talk by Mr. Chainarong Na Lamphun, a prominent Thai alumnus, who is the President and CEO of Index International Co. Ltd. In his talk - 'A Door to Success for Future Leaders', Mr. Chainarong inspired applicants by describing the many opportunities that will open to them when they study at AIT. Giving examples of a number of well-known Thai personalities who have graduated from the Institute, Mr. Chainarong impressed upon the applicants rosy career prospects by having an AIT degree.
The afternoon session was spent in meetings with faculty and campus tours to the Schools, laboratories, facilities, dormitories, library, and other facilities. Over 20 student-volunteers from different countries led these tours. These 'peer walks' allowed applicants to acquire first-hand insights from students on how it is to actually live and study at AIT.
I would like to commend and congratulate Professor Worsak, Ms. Ann, and all members of the faculty, staff, students and alumni who helped in making this excellent initiative a great success.

• Student Application Update: Total applications as of week 27 (week ending 6 July 2007) have reached 1,770. Comparing applications for the same period last year (1,513), this shows an increase of 257 (institute-wide). We are continually receiving new applications as well. In terms of offers, we are just about 2 weeks ahead of last year. Total offers stand at 1,260, which is 241 more than the same period last year (1,019). Out of SET's total applications of 812 (compared to 474 in 2006), the School has managed to make 610 offers (compared to 334 in the same period last year). In SERD, out of 678 applications (compared to 725 in 2006), SERD has offered 450 (compared to 486 last year). Out of SOM's total applications of 280 (compared to 314 last year), the School has managed to offer a total of 200 (compared to 199 at this same period last year). Total acceptances have reached 331 compared to 278 at this same time last year with the following breakdown: SET (169 compared to 59 last year), SERD (99 compared to 139 last year) and SOM (63 compared to 80 last year). Out of 331, 32 are conditional acceptances pending submission of English test/certificate.
Professor Worsak, in his capacity as RTG Faculty Representative, together with members of the RTG team, have been particularly successful in attracting a larger number of Thai students through new initiatives such as bringing top engineering students to visit AIT, posting fellowship opportunities on web boards of Thai universities etc. in addition to the recent "Visit AIT-Day "event which has resulted in more and better qualified Thai applicants.
It is encouraging to note that we received more Thai applications (411) than any of the past 3 years (3-yr average was 375). The average undergraduate GPA of the 2007 batch is 3.31 compared with 3.29, 3.22, and 3.16 in 2006, 2005 and 2004 respectively. In terms of RTG fund efficiency (defined as credits paid by students in % of credits paid by RTG), SOM has performed best averaging 127% while SERD generated only 23% additional funds of the RTG fund used in the past 3 years. The former SAT and SCE averaged 58%and 44% respectively. Out of 211 RTG fellowship offers, 80 have confirmed. However, based on the same acceptance/offer rates over the previous 3 years, we project the final acceptances to stand around 143 (a big jump compared with 89, 94, and 103 in 2004-6 respectively).

• Seminar on Strategic Planning in Higher Education by Professor Marinescu and Workshop: I would like to thank Professor Ioan D. Marinescu, professor in the Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Department, and Director of the Precision Micro-Machining Center, at the University of Toledo, Ohio, USA, for the excellent seminar that he delivered for members of the AIT community and also one-day workshop he conducted on methods of evaluation of academic programs, schools and Institute. Professor Marinescu is a close friend of the Institute and has visited AIT on numerous occasions and also served as Visiting Professor in the area of Nano-Micro Fabrications Technology.
I am personally grateful to Professor Marinescu for having kindly accepted my invitation to come to AIT and share with us some of his experiences in the areas pertaining to strategic planning in higher education and also on the comprehensive exercise that his department at the University of Toledo undertook as part of the accreditation of their program with the Engineering Accreditation Commission, The Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. The presentations were truly enlightening and also we had an excellent brainstorming session among the Vice Presidents, School Deans, and Program / Field of Study Coordinators, during the workshop, on many facets of challenges and opportunities facing AIT.
I would like to thank Mrs. Izel Ann Mojado-Dante, Head Research and Education Support, for having served as liaison between Professor Marinescu and AIT, and for the excellent arrangements made for both the seminar and workshop.

• Appointment of AIT Conference Center Manager: I would like to extend a warm welcome to Ms. Phagawan Phadungsinlertwatana, who has with effect from 2 July 2007 joined AIT as the new Manager of AIT Conference Center (AITCC). She will be responsible for overseeing the operation and management of the AITCC and its facilities, including personnel, finance and budgeting, repair and maintenance, safety and security, administration and planning.
Ms. Phagawan brings to AITCC a wealth of experience with more than twelve years of service in some of the leading hotels in Thailand. Ms. Phagawan previously served as Senior Sales Manager of Sofitel Central Plaza Bangkok where she helped boost revenues by 30%. She also worked at Siam City Hotels and Resorts and was in-charge for corporate and government accounts. Ms. Phagawan holds a degree in B.A. Business Administration and Industrial Management Science.

• Visit of Mr. Tomas Eriksson (Kinnekulle Reportage AB, Sweden) and Ms. Catharina Eriksson (Freelance Journalist): Mr. Tomas and Ms. Catharina visited AIT and conducted interviews with me for the VINNOVA-nytt (news magazine of VINNOVA) and G?teborg-posten (Swedish daily newspaper which has already accepted to publish the article). VINNOVA (Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems) http://www.vinnova.se/ focuses on innovations linked to research and development. One of VINNOVA's objectives is to stimulate Swedish participation in European and international R&D collaboration and in the exchange of experience in the field of innovation. My interview centered on innovative systems in Asia, role played by AIT in supporting and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, and also exploring possible ways in which VINNOVA could also support such efforts.
AIT is participating in the Sida and VINNOVA organized workshop on "Putting Ideas to Work-Strategies for Innovation-led Sustainable Growth" - first part of which will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, 19 November-14 December, 2007, with a regional seminar to place in Bangkok in 2008. The Stockholm workshop is aimed at promoting the further development of innovative systems in the Asian region. Mrs. Marit Werner, Project Manager, Innovation Actors Division, VINNOVA has been working closely with us on this initiative. Vice President for Research, Professor S. K. Rakshit and Dr. Barbara Igel, from the School of Management, will represent AIT at the first round of the VINNOVA program for Asia in Sweden in Nov-Dec 2007.

• British Embassy Reception: On 3 July, I took part in the reception hosted by H.E. Mr. David Fall, the British Ambassador to Thailand, to bid farewell to Mr. James Shipton, and welcome Mr. John Whitehead, new Director of the British Council. I plan on inviting Ambassador Fall to AIT to learn more from his experiences in the region, and also towards seeking his recommendations and guidelines as to ways in which relations with the United Kingdom, which was a founding member of AIT, could be revived.

• Visit of Romanian Ambassador to AIT: On 4 July, H.E. Mr. Radu Gabriel Mateescu, Ambassador of Romania to Thailand visited AIT. Together with the Vice-Presidents for External Relations, for Development and Resources and for Research, with the Director of AIT Extension as well as representatives from the Schools and ERCO, I presented him AIT, its renewed strategy and its potential in developing fruitful academic and research collaborations with Romanian institutions.
H.E. Mr. Mateescu exposed the priorities of the Romanian foreign policies, including a willingness to expand linkages to other parts of the world now that Romania has become a full member of both NATO and the European Union. Prof. Ioan Marinescu, from the University of Toledo in the USA, currently visiting AIT and who originates from Romania also contributed several interesting ideas to further develop the relations with Romania. We agreed on concrete steps to initiate the relations between AIT and top Romanian academic institutions, including possible visits of Romanian rectors to AIT, as well as the exploration of funding opportunities, particularly with the European Union.

• ADPC Board Meeting: I attended the meeting of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) Board held on 4 July under the Chairmanship of H.E. Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse. During the meeting we were informed by the Director General, International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand that ADPC's Charter aimed at attaining formal international status has already been submitted to the Thai cabinet for approval. AIT is also conducting a similar exercise and we are making all efforts to expedite and complete the process by the end of the year.
ADPC is a dynamic organization and there are a number of areas such as climate risk management in which we could further increase our collaboration, in addition to our partnership in the delivery of masters and professional masters programs in disaster mitigation & management, and also ongoing collaboration in early warning systems.

• Presentation of NANOTEC Center of Excellence Nameplate to AIT: On 5 July, I participated in the National Nanotechnology (NANOTEC) Center of Excellence nameplate presentation ceremony which was held at AIT, and represented by Professor Wiwut, Director, National and other executives and members from NANOTEC. AIT in partnership with NANOTEC set up the Center of Excellence in Nanotechnology at AIT, for application of nanoparticles, which is suitable for addressing developmental issues utilizing this burgeoning field of knowledge. Nanotechnology at AIT is relatively new but it has a broad significance and potential to contribute to the regions needs and focus to develop this field of expertise jointly with AIT's interdisciplinary offerings.
The success of the Center, which was officially recognized at the event, is due to the hard work and efforts on the part of Dr. Joydeep Dutta, Associate Dean for New Development, SET and Director, Center of Excellence in Nanotechnology, and members of his team. Dr. Dutta and his colleagues have been working tirelessly in building up the Center through furthering linkages and collaboration with other academic, research institutions and the private sector. I would also like to express our grateful thanks and appreciation to NANOTEC for this important recognition and for its continued support to AIT.

• Feedback on Audit of AITCV: I had a meeting with Mr. Teerapan Sattagowit, AIT Internal Auditor during which I was briefed on some of the outcomes of the recent audit which he undertook of the AIT Center in Vietnam (AITCV). The purpose of the audit was to assess AITCV financial and administrative operations as well as to better harmonize the financial and administrative procedures between AIT and AITCV in order to provide management with an objective assessment of whether the current financial and administrative systems and controls are working effectively and to assist management in introducing improvements where weaknesses are identified. Our efforts have been to try and streamline the financial processes and procedures with the objective of putting in place a common financial structure and system.
We are also currently discussing and in the process of drawing up a joint agreement between the Schools of AIT and AITCV (this would also apply to other AIT Centers) to be treated as Responsibility Centers when undertaking joint programs or activities under the RCM concept.

• Clean, Green AIT - Update on Environmental Initiatives: I would like to commend everyone who came out to actively participate in the second Clean AIT Day on 22 June. I was informed that members of our staff, students and even children went around the campus to contribute in making AIT cleaner. I would also like to thank members of the faculty who joined in the initiative. Your actions more than your words gave an inspiration for many to follow. I am aware that this will be one of the regular activities we will be doing leading towards the celebration of AIT's golden anniversary - and I will also personally take part in the next Clean AIT Day.
The demonstration project on waste segregation supported through the 3RKH project and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) project, has started and is being implemented in SV2 (student village) and ST9 (staff housing). The launching of the "Bring Your Own Cup" initiative is an excellent idea and I would like to encourage everyone to support these kinds of efforts on campus. By doing this we create awareness and contribute in the preservation of our environment. My sincere thanks and commendations go to our very active and action oriented members of the Task Force on AIT Environment Month for spearheading these excellent environmental activities. We look forward to support other innovative activities that are well on the way. I wish to also thank UNEP for working with AIT and for their offer to help support and promote some concrete projects once they are developed.
In order to further institutionalize our ongoing efforts, I am pleased to announce that we are also working on an "AIT Environment Policy" document which would set out the Institute's aim and objectives for safeguarding the environment and that which would detail the organizational arrangements for implementing and monitoring the policy.

• Academic Senate Meeting: The new MBA curriculum and Professional Masters Program in Telecommunication proposed by the School of Management and School of Engineering and Technology were approved at the recent Academic Senate meeting held on 27 June.
In line with the efforts of the AIT environment task force towards a "Clean, Green AIT" it is most encouraging to note that the Academic Senate is for the first time, conducting elections for the next Chairman of the Academic Senate electronically, thanks to the assistance of Dr. Harianto, IT Coordinator and Ms. Sunita S Kumar, Web Application Developer, who helped develop the program.

• Recognition of Faculty and Alumni: I would like to congratulate AIT alumnus Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, (WRE '81) on his recent appointment as the Rector of the Universitas Gadjah Mada Indonesia. I also had an opportunity to meet with Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi over the weekend during the reception hosted by AIT trustee H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Yusuf, Ambassador of Indonesia in honour of H.E. Prof. Dr. Bambang Sudibyo, Minister of National Education, and to also congratulate him in person.
I would also like to congratulate Dr. Babette Resurreccion and colleagues from the Gender & Development Studies, on being jointly awarded the EU-Asia Link Grant for their project "Gender and Sustainable Development: Natural Resource Management, Migration and Multi-local Livelihoods" in the amount of 335,656 Euro. The partnership constitutes AIT, Chulalongkorn University, Andalas University, and University of Brighton with the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) as the chief implementor.

• Dinner Reception with Minister of National Education, Indonesia: I was invited to a dinner reception hosted in Bangkok by AIT trustee H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Yusuf, Ambassador of Indonesia in honour of H.E. Prof. Dr. Bambang Sudibyo, Minister of National Education which was also attended by AIT alumnus Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, Rector of the Universitas Gadjah Mada Indonesia; Prof. Dr. Dodi Nandika, Secretary-General, Ministry of National Education; and Dr. Ir. Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, Head, Bureau of Planning and International
Cooperation, Ministry of National Education. Mr. Sanjeev Jayasinghe, AIT Fund Raising Campaign Director, also joined me at the reception as well as in the meeting we had with Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi and Dr. Ir. Gatot following the reception.
Some of the outcomes of our meeting are highlighted below:
- There is a national budget available through which the Ministry of National Education plans to send as many as 4,000 lecturers (today only 400) starting from 2008 for higher studies abroad. The Ministry is positive and supportive of AIT's ongoing collaboration with the Universitas Gadjah Mada Indonesia, ITB, as well as the AIT Center in Bandung established under the auspices of the Ministry of Public Works.
- In order to share experiences amongst the top national universities as well as international institutions, it is proposed that initially there will be a joint linkage at the masters level with AIT, ITB and Gaja Madah, with funding to be provided by the Bureau of Planning and Cooperation, directly in accordance with the actual tuition fees charged by each institution. The proposal is to spend an equal amount of time at all 3 institutions (7-8 months) and receive a degree that would bear the signatures of the heads of all three partner institutions. The other option to be discussed further is to spend one year at the two universities in Indonesia and one year at AIT.
- Dr Gatot has agreed to provide all three institutions with the Ministry's list of priority fields in order to match what can be offered at each institution. Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi is keen on starting the program in the field of transportation at Gaja Madah. Likewise AIT and ITB would also need to identify and decide their respective fields once the list is received. Dr Gatot is keen on launching this cooperative program as early as September 2007. Gaja Madah is ready to start their program in September while AIT could target to so do by August 2008.
- All three institutions would need to immediately appoint a working group (initial communications through e-mail), and initially start with 1-2 fields, develop it make it a success and then expand it further. The working group would need to identify the areas / fields develop the modality of the curriculum, course content, credit requirement, tuition costs, board lodging, bursary etc, and forward the proposal to Dr Gatot. A detailed proposal for each partner institution could then be further developed in consultation and agreement with all three institutions.
I am most grateful to our alumnus Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi and to Dr. Ir. Gatot for their strong support and assistance in further strengthening our collaboration with Indonesia.

• Mid-year Institute Forum, Thursday, 23 August 2007: The next mid-year Institute Forum will take place on Thursday, 23 August, 9:00-12:00 hrs at the AIT Conference Center Auditorium. I will be reporting to members of the community some of the activities and initiatives undertaken over the past 6 months and also activities and plans for the future.
Our new students will have joined by then and this would be a good opportunity for them to also learn more about the Institute and some of the ongoing initiatives and activities. My presentation will be followed by an interactive session during which there would be an opportunity provided to members of the community to raise questions or concerns as well as put forward any ideas or suggestions that they might have.

I wish you a pleasant week ahead.

Sincerely,


Said Irandoust

President