“Kita harus balancing dan luas, khazanah barat dan khazanah timur”,

“We have to maintain the balance, between the so-called western style and development in education and the classical eastern (middle eastern) civilization and Islamic education.”

That is the advice from the rector of UINSA, prof Akh Muzakki to the director of the international office. Therefore, in addition to strengthening the networking and collaboration between UINSA and Saudi Arabia, UINSA also initiates the partnership with Tunisia. Warm welcome has been delivered by the ambassador of Republic of Indonesia for Tunisia, thanks to parties involved in helping the initiative ( mr Shiddiq and HE Safira machrusah).

In line with that, good destiny has led to the acceleration of the process. On Monday, 18 December 2023, Rector of Zaituna university, syekh Prof. Dr. Abdullatif Bouazizi conducted a visit to UINSA. It is important to highlight that Zaytuna university is the oldest Universities in Tunisia and, arguably in the world.  Rector of Zaytuna, syekh Prof. Dr. Abdullatif Bouazizi, is welcomed warmly by the Rector of UINSA, Prof. Akh. Muzakki, here is accompanied by all the vice rectors as well as the International Office of UINSA like Maulana who, with team from amanatul ummah, have been the PIC and mutarjim. The visit also is supported by the KKH, unit for cooperation and public relation who have been a great help.

The meeting was very impactful as it resulted in several concrete plans for future partnership. Among the plans for collaboration in the future are conducting the double degree, collaborative research, visiting lecturers, and mobility program. Prof Akh Muzakki, as the rector, underlines the importance of these plans. The meeting is very crucial for UINSA in term of broadening the network and collaboration not only with the western countries’ universities but also the middle eastern and north Africa universities.

As mentioned, Az-Zaituna University is one of the oldest universities in the world and it represents the Islamic civilization that is famous with Ibn Khaldun and others. Therefore, it has a very strategy position.  On the other hand, UIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya is the third oldest state Islamic universities in in Indonesia. Not only that, UINSA also has been committed to conserving and strengthening the core of Islamic education including here the religious studies like fiqih, Ushuluddin or theology, Islamic civilization, Arabic literature, and others. This is surely also in line with the spirit of integration with the science and technology.

Another important note we have to bear in mind is the strategic positioning of the MENA (middle eastern and north Africa) in shaping the Islamic thought and leadership among Indonesian society. It cannot be denied that that religious scholars In Indonesia will be deemed more credible and more respectable when they are graduates from Islamic universities in middle eastern or north Africa.  Therefore, the meeting marks the great opportunity for the emergence of alumni from UINSA who can have double degree and enjoy the benefit both the substance and the civil affect or authority gained by the cooperation with Islamic universities in MENA, here including and more particularly Zaytuna University. At the end of the day, promoting Islam rohmatan lil alamien arguably can be easily achieved when the religious leaders and figures are those studied and graduated from UINSA. Hope the UINSA alumnies become great future leaders and figures within indonesian muslims. (Nabiela Naily, Arie)