University of Darussalam Gontor (UNIDA Gontor) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on research and education cooperation with Khazar University, Azerbaijan, (20/9).
Prof Amal Fathullah Zarkasyi, Rector of University of Darussalam Gontor, said the MoU was one of the most important milestones for both universities.
“For Gontor, this is the first MoU with university in Azerbaijan. For Khazar, this MoU will strengthen its already existing networking with ASEAN university,” said Prof Amal.
The MoU was signed by Rectors of both universities; Prof Amal Fathullah Zarkasyi from University of Darussalam Gontor, and Prof Hassan Niknafs from Khazar University.
The witnesses are Assoc Prof. Irada Khalilova, Vice Rector for Research and acting Head of Dept. of Biological Science & Centre for Cell Pathology Research, Khazar University, and Dr Hamid Fahmy Zarkasyi, Vice Rector for Academic Affair, UNIDA Gontor.
Dr Hamid said that in a very near future both universities will start implementing the MoU. The focus of cooperation will be in the field of research, joint seminar and exchange of students and faculties.
“The most promising disciplines for this cooperation are theology, Arabic teaching, shariah, international relations, and computer science,” said Dr Hamid.
Currently, Khazar University has four schools; School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Economics and Management, School of Education, School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
On the other side, University of Darussalam Gontor has seven faculties, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Shariah, Faculty of Economics and Management, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Science and Technology, and Faculty of Health Science.
In that occasion, Prof Hassan Niknafs, Rector of Khazar University offered scholarship for students of UNIDA Gontor. “The scholarship will cover from 50% up to 75% of the course fees,” said Prof Hassan.
Prof Hassan also stated that the university will help arranging accommodation for UNIDA Gontor students.
Dr. Ruskiah from University of Darussalam said that she was very impressed by Khazar University’s warm welcome. She believed the cooperation will build the bridge not only for academic cooperation, but also for a cultural exchange between the two nations.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Khazar University at University of Darussalam Gontor,” said Dr. Ruskiah.
UNIDA Gontor’s visit to Azerbaijan is one of programs of ICAST, International Center for Awqaf Studies, initiated by Bank Indonesia—Indonesian Central Bank—and University of Darussalam Gontor. “The aim of this visit is to disseminate the spirit of waqf and build public awareness on the key role waqf plays in development of a nation,” said Dr. Hamid.
The MoU was made possible through the generous support of Indonesian Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan. “We really appreciate the huge help from Indonesian Ambassador in Azerbijan, Dr Husnan Bey Fananie and his staffs,” said Prof. Amal.
Ms Astrid, assistant to Mr Ambassador, supported the organizing committee from the first day by reviewing the MoU and bridging UNIDA Gontor with Khazar University, said Dr Syamsuri, senior lecturer at UNIDA Gontor who arranged the visit.
At the same day and place, Prof Amal and Dr Hamid presented a public lecture on waqf. The title of the paper presented was “Waqf as social capital in building Islamic economic and civilization.” The seminar was attended by faculties and students of Khazar University. The moderator of the seminar was Dr. Jeyhun Mammadov, Dean of School of Economic and Management.
Dr Rifki Ismal, representative of Bank Indonesia and Indonesian prominent researcher on Islamic Economics said that the participants were very interested in the topic. “Waqf is relatively new topic for them,” said Dr Rifki.
One of Bank Indonesia concerns, Dr Rifki said, is developing Islamic economics and finance. “And waqf, historically, was the Muslim’s key to success in building civilization,” said Dr Rifki.
Dr Rifki also explained that Bank Indonesia supports UNIDA Gontor as a partner in ICAST to make it the center for development and research on waqf at international level.
“With ICAST, we are expecting to see waqf playing its role in supporting national economic development, improving public welfare, and increasing the role and contribution of Islamic economics in national economy,” said Dr. Rifki. [Taufiq / Ed. Mala & Nurrahma]