Education lifelong investment
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam underscored that education is a lifelong investment that has extraordinary power, without which development could not be attained.

His Majesty delivered a titah yesterday after being conferred with the Honoris Causa Doctorate in the field of Philosophy on Humanity and Civilisation by University of Indonesia. The ceremony was held at University of Indonesia campus in Depok, West Java, Indonesia.

The monarch said, he and Indonesian President Dato Laila Utama Dr Hj Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono shared similar stance on education.

"During the visit by the Indonesian President to Brunei Darussalam two months ago, we both agreed to intensify cooperation in education in both countries. With the conferment of the honorary doctorate, I hope it could enhance ties between University of Indonesia and Universiti Brunei Darussalam leading to close connection between the people of both countries.

"To date, we have granted 88 scholarships to Indonesian undergraduates to pursue their studies at tertiary institutions in Brunei Darussalam. The scholarships are part of the friendship programmes between Brunei Darussalam and Asean countries including Indonesia," His Majesty said.

His Majesty added, "The programme is hoped to assist the undergraduates to widen their knowledge and enhance understanding besides nurturing dynamic leadership attitude. These criteria are needed in our effort to step up unity and understanding in this region."

Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia along with other Asean member nations are working together to enhance regional cooperation in the field of education especially in developing an Asean socio cultural community, said the monarch.

"It is our hope that initiatives such as Asean University Network would stimulate friendships among the students in this region. As Asean Chair this year, Indonesia plays a crucial role in realising these aspirations. And as a close neighbour, Brunei Darussalam would continue to give strong support to enhance ties between both countries bilaterally and regionally," His Majesty added.

The Honoris Causa Doctorate in the field of Philosophy on Humanity and Civilisation conferred on His Majesty brought an invaluable meaning to the monarch. "I wish to express my sincere gratitude and thanks for the conferment as the honour is not only for me but also for the people and the nation."

Highlighting on the university itself, His Majesty said University of Indonesia possesses a unique and old history. It has produced visionary graduates that possess high skills and dynamic leadership. Throughout the 160-year history, the university has succeeded in producing many graduates that contributed to the development of Indonesia.

"Indonesia, before the era of colonisation, is known to have possessed a unique traditional education that produced some top Indonesians. And this has been recorded during the old government civilisation in Java, Sumatera, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and so on, which emphasised on education strongly and further boosted by renowned nationals like Pangeran Dipo Negoro, Pangeran Mangkabumi and so on.

"This shows that Indonesia is great, be it in history or in its new era. And I, who has been conferred with such an honour, am also part of the Indonesia's education history," His Majesty said.

His Majesty also expressed his gratitude for the conferment and thanked the warm welcome accorded to His Majesty by the university community especially its students. The monarch also said the hope of the people and the nation relies on the students.

His Majesty said Brunei like Indonesia has a big youth population where almost half of them are aged below 35 years. Just like Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam has also implemented several important initiatives for youth potentials to be enhanced especially in education.

These include providing opportunities to all talented Bruneian students to achieve the highest level of education locally or abroad, which is in line with the country's 2035 vision to possess a highly skilful and educated workforce.

Earlier, His Majesty was greeted upon arrival at the campus by Dr R M Marty M Natalegawa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia; Prof Dr Muhammad Nuh, Minister of National Education; Prof Dr Der Soz Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri, Rector of University of Indonesia and Dr Dorianta Dhaneswara, Committee Chairman.

The conferment ceremony began with a speech by Prof Dr Muhammad Nuh. This was followed by the reading of citation of His Majesty by the University of Indonesia Rector.

The biodata of His Majesty was read out by Dr Ir Muhammad Anis, Vice Rector. His Majesty was then presented with a 'kalong' in conferment of the Honoris Causa Doctorate by the Rector.

Later His Majesty consented to receive a pesambah from Prof Dr Muhammad Nuh and posed for photos with members of the university's faculty.

Also present at the conferment ceremony were Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti Diraja Dato Laila Utama Hj Awg Isa bin Pehin Datu Perdana Manteri Dato Laila Utama Hj Awg Ibrahim, Speaker of the Legislative Council; Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong, Minister of Education; Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Awg Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II; and Dato Paduka Brigadier General (Rtd) Hj Mahmud bin Hj Saidin, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Republic of Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Antara News reported University of Indonesia spokesperson, Vishnu Juwono, saying, "The academic title is given to His Majesty for his commitment to the quality of education and research in Brunei Darussalam."

Vishnu said the University of Indonesia highly appreciated His Majesty's involvement in promoting people's welfare through the development of Brunei Darussalam's economy and education.

He said His Majesty is a charismatic and successful leader who has inspired other nations in Southeast Asia and the world.

"The monarch plays a role in promoting dialogue for civilisation by introducing the depth of the spirituality of Islam as a universal value," he said, adding that His Majesty has also promoted Islamic values by supporting research about Islam and tolerance.

In addition, His Majesty's involvement in supporting Asean regional cooperation and other international cooperation had contributed to the development and promotion of world peace. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd April 2011)