Goshen College's Indonesian Study-Service Term (SST) group in Bali in 2019.

Goshen College collaborates to form the Institute for Indonesian Academic Partnerships

Goshen College is launching the new Institute for Indonesian Academic Partnerships (IIAP) to foster a network between Anabaptist higher education institutions, other U.S. universities, Indonesian higher education institutions and nonprofits.

The institute, formed in collaboration with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S., seeks to partner with organizations who share similar missions and values. IIAP’s areas of focus will include peace and reconciliation, interfaith dialogue and cooperation, environmental sustainability, ecological restoration, community health and development, and social entrepreneurship.

Les Redfern

“This new institute seeks to promote collaborative projects that work toward sustainable livelihoods and flourishing communities with justice and equity, while bringing institutions in the United States and Indonesia into deeper and more reciprocal partnerships that build understanding and peace,” said Les Redfern, director of the IIAP who is based in Indonesia.

Jan Bender Shetler, director of global engagement at Goshen College, notes that this is an exciting new way of working toward international partnerships that build long-term reciprocal relationships. “We want to move away from the drive-by model of international engagement to one of deep mutuality resulting from multiple interactions involving faculty, students and community organizations moving in both directions from Indonesia and the United States. IIAP will make our Goshen College programs in Indonesia better, but a network of universities working toward a common goal will make us all better.”

IIAP at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, right to left Susan Setiawan, SST faculty leader, Goshen College, Florentina Galuh, IIAP Executive Assistant, Stephannie Maay, IIAP Project Manager, Les Redfern, IIAP Director, Erlin Mali, IIAP Assistant Director, Jan Bender Shetler, Director of Global Engagement, Goshen College.

Over decades, MCC’s programs have created an extensive network of relationships involving Indonesian Anabaptist-Mennonite churches and higher education institutions throughout Indonesia. Goshen College also has a deep relationship with Indonesian Anabaptist-Mennonites through 55 Indonesian alumni and the work of the college’s Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism (ISGA).

Since 1994, Goshen College has sent students to Indonesia for a semester-long Study-Service Term (SST), with the next unit going in 2024. In 2021, the college’s ISGA published the book “A Cloud of Witnesses: Celebrating Indonesian Mennonites” by John D. Roth, then director and now professor emeritus of history at Goshen College. As well, the college is one of very few in the United States to be home to an outstanding set of gamelan orchestra instruments from the Indonesian island of Java, and recently hosted a summer camp led by a Javanese gamelan master for those interested to learn to play these traditional percussion instruments.

“These relationships place the IIAP in a strategic position to work with partners in the United States and Indonesia who share an interest in education and collaboration in the institute’s areas of focus,” said Redfern. “We invite other higher education institutions and nonprofits, whether in the United States or in Canada, that are interested in joining our network to reach out to us for more conversation.”


Learn more about the IIAP at goshen.edu/iiap.