BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

Representatives of Lehigh University are attending a workshop in Indonesia this week that aims to strengthen academic collaboration with the United States.

 Sixty educators and administrators from the United States and Indonesia are participating in the workshop at Gadjah Mada University.

 Its objectives include developing new research partnerships, exploring potential areas of collaboration and initiating joint proposals in the areas of sustainable environment and resilient community.

The three-day workshop, which continues through Wednesday, is the first major activity planned by the USIPP Consortium, a bi-national group of twelve colleges and universities committed to advancing U.S. – Indonesia academic collaboration.

Representing Lehigh are:

*Tara Troy, assistant professor of water resources engineering;

*Nikolai Nikolav, assistant professor of architecture;

*James Ricles, professor of structural engineering;

*Mohamed S. El-Aasser, vice president and associate provost for international affairs;

* Debra H. Nyby, director of international services.

Launched in May 2013, the USIPP Consortium includes six Indonesian and six U.S. higher education institutions.

In addition to Lehigh, other participating U.S. college and universities include Chatham University,  Miami Dade College, Northern Illinois University,  University of Michigan, and University of Washington.

Participating from Indonesia are Airlangga University, Bandung Institute of Technology, Bogor Agricultural Institute, Gadjah Mada University, Institute of the Arts – Jogjakarta and University of Indonesia.

The USIPP Consortium is a direct outcome of a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

That bureau funded the U.S. Indonesia Partnership Program that was administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) from 2010 - 2012.

The purpose of the original program was to increase U.S. study abroad to Indonesia and foster long-term partnerships between U.S. and Indonesian higher education institutions.

With the support of seed grants from the ECA funding, the twelve institutions developed new study abroad programs, which brought 37 American students to Indonesia along with more than a half dozen American faculty members.

More importantly, the twelve institutions developed solid working relationships with one another, and ultimately committed to formalizing and expanding their joint activities as a consortium after the conclusion of the initial program.

The elected bi-national secretariat of the consortium, which consists of representatives of Lehigh University and Gadjah Mada University, is responsible for steering this first year of consortium activities.

The secretariat worked with a bi-national planning committee of faculty members to organize the workshop.

With the conviction that faculty members are essential for driving research collaboration, the planning committee identified sub-themes related to sustainable environment and resilient community that are of interest to the faculty involved in the workshop.

Sub-themes in the sustainable environment area include eco art, marine biology and biodiversity, and adaptive urbanism.

Sub-themes in the resilient community area include natural disaster risk reduction and management, cross-cultural studies/international relations, and democracy and religious pluralism.

A grant from the Ford Foundation has provided funding for fifteen faculty members from the United States to travel to Indonesia for this workshop.

U.S. – Indonesia academic relations have been on the rise since Presidents Obama and Yudhoyono announced the Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries in 2010, and included a working group specifically focused on education.