The battle against terrorism in the region will soon get a boost with the launch of Indonesia's first university course in terrorism studies.
The master's programme, which will begin in February at Universitas Indonesia (UI), the country's oldest state university, aims to develop a pool of terrorism studies experts here and around the region.
Only Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) offers a similar programme in the region, said Police Inspector-General Benny Mamoto. The veteran trainer in police and security affairs and counter-terrorism will lead the course.
He said the two-year programme will focus on anti-terrorism laws, social and cultural aspects of terrorism, terrorism eradication management and deradicalisation theories.
He said UI hopes to groom experts in terrorism studies who can go on to contribute to the discourse on how to tackle the perennial threat of terrorism in Indonesia and the region.
"We wanted a terrorism studies programme with a multi-disciplinary approach, covering criminology, anthropology, culture, communications and psychology."
Indonesia has had its fair share of terror attacks, starting with the 2002 Bali blasts, the twin bombings at Jakarta's JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in 2009 and, more recently, the siege on the city's downtown in January.
The country has done well in countering the threat, said Gen Benny, and earned praise from the international community.
The new course aims to facilitate joint research, student exchange and fellowship programmes with overseas institutions such as NTU, he said.
To ensure that the programme is relevant and offers up-to-date insights into issues tied to terrorism, experts such as national police chief Tito Karnavian, former State Intelligence Agency chief A.M. Hendropriyono and defence affairs veteran Andi Widjajanto will be among the teaching staff.
The course, to be offered in Bahasa Indonesia, will start with 30 to 40 students, at the university's Jakarta campus. There are plans to conduct it in English in future.