History

Airlangga Institute of Indian Ocean Crossroads or AIIOC was officially established on May 8, 2023. Its initiators include four faculties of Universitas Airlangga, namely Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Social and Political SciencesAirlangga Institute of Indian Ocean Crossroads or AIIOC was officially established on May 8, 2023. Its initiators include four faculties of Universitas Airlangga, namely Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Public Health, and Faculty of Medicine. Other than these four faculties, the establishment of AIIOC is carried out in a constant collaboration with the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS). The spirit of multiple-scales (local, regional, global) collaboration and trans-disciplinary research programmes has always resonated during the first ideation of AIIOC in 2021 and will always become the vein of any agenda of the center.

The road to the official establishment AIIOC has been lengthy. It is not magically created overnight. A massive societal and cultural reconstruction ignited by the COVID-19 pandemic leads many sectors to not only do things differently but also to see and think of the world using a different lens. It is no exception for academics. The interconnection of many societal facets leads to an interconnected problem as well. Responding to this, Universitas Airlangga’s Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Social and Political Sciences firstly saw the need for a more interconnected approach in researching and resolving contemporary problems. Both faculties’ history in collaborating with IIAS, Southeast Asia Neighborhoods Network, and Urban Knowledge Network Asia cultivated into concrete planning of the establishment of a research center in Surabaya. Surabaya was chosen for its historicity as a gateway to the vast region of Eastern Indonesia and beyond to Australia. 2022 marked as the initial year where concrete planning started to take place. Early 2023 then became a significant moment when Universitas Airlangga’s representatives met with several IIAS delegates to discuss the steps that should be taken in order to establish AIIOC firmly. This meeting strengthened Universitas Airlangga’s bond to IIAS due to the AIIOC initiation. It is then, here we are, under the Rector Decree of Universitas Airlangga AIIOC has found its legal and official footing.

Figure 1: UNAIR and IIAS’ meeting at Bumi Hotel Surabaya (February 2023, courtesy of Rohman Obet)