With its beautiful batik, palaces of the sultan, art galleries and traditional dance performances the many famous attractions for visitors to Yogyakarta are enjoyed by millions every year. Lesser known perhaps, but no less a foundation of the city’s heart and soul, is Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) an Indonesian research university located on a lush 360-acre campus. Founded in 1949, amidst a tumultuous period when Indonesia was searching for its identity and building the foundations for a modern state, UGM has a rich history that reflects the nation’s bold vision towards higher education, research, and development.
UGM’s commitment to cultural preservation and development sets it apart. The university is a driving force in promoting Indonesian arts, culture, and heritage and organises numerous cultural events, showcasing traditional music, dance, and visual arts which not only enrich the lives of students but also contribute to the nation’s cultural identity.
Over the years, UGM has expanded its offerings by establishing numerous faculties and academic programs, catering to a wide range of disciplines and fields of study. Today, the university is at the forefront of research and innovation in Indonesia and contributes significantly to various fields, including science, technology, social sciences, and the arts. UGM is also actively engaged in community development, working to address societal challenges and contribute to the betterment of Indonesian society. UGM serves as a pillar of educational awakening in Indonesia while also promoting Pancasila, Indonesia’s state ideology. At UGM, students are provided with a vast array of opportunities to develop creativity and innovation in their realms through the support of modern infrastructure and information technology.
UGM is ranked among the top 300 universities in the world with over 60,000 Indonesian and international students, 18 faculties, 68 undergraduate study programmes, 23 diploma study programmes, 104 master and specialist study programmes, and 43 doctorate study programmes. Located in the heart of Yogyakarta, the area around the sprawling campus is full of nice bars and bistros, and has the kind of atmosphere and amenities you would expect for UGM’s high caliber faculty and students. The campus itself includes a mix of architectural styles from art deco to Dutch colonial and traditional Javanese.
From its inception, UGM attracted visionary educators, scholars, and students. The university quickly became a hub for innovative research, critical thinking, and academic collaboration. Its early faculties spanned a diverse range of disciplines, including law, medicine, engineering, and social sciences, reflecting UGM’s commitment to fostering well-rounded education. The university’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of knowledge has earned it recognition both nationally and internationally. As Indonesia’s global presence has grown, so has UGM’s international engagement. The university has partnerships with institutions around the world, facilitating student exchanges, collaborative research projects, and cultural exchanges. These connections have enhanced UGM’s reputation on the global stage.
UGM continues to thrive as a beacon of academic excellence in Indonesia and beyond. It remains committed to its founding principles while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the modern era. The university’s impact on education, research, and cultural preservation is a testament to its enduring significance in the nation’s history.
Gadjah Mada (c. 1290 – c. 1364) was a prominent historical figure in Indonesian history, specifically associated with the Majapahit Empire, one of the largest and most powerful empires in Southeast Asia. He is best known for his role as the Prime Minister or “Mahapatih” (also spelled “Mahapatih Gadjah Mada”) during the reign of King Hayam Wuruk.
Gajah Mada is famous for his “Sumpah Palapa,” an oath he made, promising not to consume any spices until he had unified the entire Indonesian archipelago under the rule of the Majapahit Empire. Although he is remembered for this ambitious goal, the extent to which he actually achieved this unification is debated among historians. Nonetheless, Gajah Mada played a crucial role in expanding and maintaining the influence of the Majapahit Empire during its peak. Gajah Mada is remembered as a symbol of unity and a legendary figure in Indonesian history, and his legacy continues to be celebrated in modern Indonesia.