As the fourth most populous country in the world, the Republic of Indonesia is culturally, ethnically, religiously, and linguistically diverse. The national motto translates to “Unity in Diversity.” Rutgers recognizes this diversity and because of this Indonesia figures prominently in the work, research, and involvement of faculty and students.
At the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) Mark Robson had a three year grant in Indonesia at Syiah Kuala University. He worked with rural communities on building environmental health capacity. Yair Rosenthal, of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS), investigates climate and oceanography in Indonesia over the past hundreds to thousands of years. In 2002, Rosenthal signed an agreement that joined Rutgers and the Indonesian Ministry of Science and Technology on collaborative research on paleo-climate. The IMCS has hosted visits by Indonesian scientists and officials. Similar research is being conducted at Rutgers–Newark.
At the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS), Carl Swisher has worked extensively on research involving Indonesia and the evolution and differences of cranial capacity in Asian Homo erectus. Erin Vogel works with Universitas National Jakarta and the Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation. She conducts research on the management of orangutans in the Mawas Reserve. Additionally, Yana Rodgers' current research focuses on examining the well-being of women and children in Indonesia. Her new book examines the relationship between Indonesian women’s employment and the nutritional status of their children.
Rutgers students have spent considerable amounts of time in Indonesia conducting research. In 2009, a Rutgers student won a Fulbright Award and spent time teaching English in Indonesia. Simultaneously, a Fulbright winner from Indonesia has chosen to pursue her Ph.D. at Rutgers. Several students from Indonesia come to Rutgers to study for their Masters and Ph.D. degrees every year as well. Many of them benefit from sponsorship by Exxon Mobil. Areas of study have included geography, geological sciences, mechanical engineering, food science, and women' studies.
Rutgers has joined President Obama and President Yudhoyono in the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership and Rutgers faculty participate in the work of the U.S.-Indonesia Joint Council. This partnership aims to improve the quality of Indonesian higher education by supporting collaboration between American and Indonesian universities as well as expanding educational exchanges, such as the Fulbright Indonesia Research, Science, and Technology Program.