Four Indonesian universities will participate in the international education conference to be held on April 17-20 at the Riyadh International Exhibition Center under the auspices of the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education, according to an embassy spokesman. “We hope that the four Indonesian universities’ participation in the international education conference will further improve the bilateral ties binding Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. We also expect stepped-up collaboration in various fields,” Indonesian Embassy First Secretary Irvan Fachrizal told Arab News. The four universities include the University of Indonesia (UI) in Jakarta, University of Gajah Mada in Yogyakarta City, Bandung Institute of Technology in Bandung, and Islamic University of Maulana Malik Ibrahim in Malang. Education and Cultural Attache Muhammad Luthfi Zuhdi said the universities mentioned are among the best and oldest institutions of learning in Indonesia. “They will showcase the excellent education dished out by the different Indonesian institutions of learning to students,” he said. The diplomat noted that UI, which is one of the oldest state-run universities with more than 160 years of experience in education, ranked 236th in the survey of the world’s best universities based on QS World University Ranking in 2010. “In this connection, we are inviting Saudi students to go to Indonesia and see how conducive for learning the country is and enroll in any of the 76 state universities and 200 private universities all over the country,” the official said. He noted that some 450 Indonesian students are taking up religious studies and about 80 took their graduate degrees in science and technology in Saudi Arabia. He also said that 250 Indonesian students are scheduled to enroll under the King Abdullah Scholarship Program in science and technology courses over a five-year-period. “We expect that this will happen in five years’ time and we thank Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for it,” he said. Indonesian participation in the higher education conference is also expected to prop up cultural ties. “At present such ties are being nurtured by the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh and by Syed Abdurrahman Annughaimisyi, the Saudi religious attache in Jakarta,” Zuhdi said. He hoped that the Kingdom also assign a Saudi education attache in Jakarta. Sketching out the excellent ties binding the two brotherly countries, Fachrizal said that top Indonesian officials have visited the Kingdom and vice versa. He said that Marzuki Ali, head of Indonesian Parliament, visited the Kingdom last March for meetings with his Saudi counterpart and other Saudi officials. On the other hand, Labor Minister Adel Fakeih visited Indonesia in November 2011 to discuss labor issues.