Grooming Future’s Interfaith Leaders in ASEAN through AYIC Program (1)

ASEAN Youth Interfaith Camp 2018 with Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla. (Ist)

THREE Indonesian ministries are involved to designing this interfaith youth camp for ASEAN young people: Foreign Ministry, Ministry for Human Development and Culture, and Ministry for Religious Affairs.

The program is called AYIC 2018 (ASEAN Youth Interfaith Camp) with 24 participants from some ASEAN countries including representatives from the host country Indonesia.

AYIC happened in Indonesia with host cities namely Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Bali, from 28 October to 4 November 2018.

The Religious Harmony Office of the Ministry of Religious Affairs was officially authorized to host this event.

Explained to Sesawi.Net by Mr Paulus Tasik Galle from the Religious Harmony Office of the Indonesian Ministry for Religious Affairs, AYIC 2010 aims with these following objectives.

Grooming potential leaders

“As host of AYIC 2018, we aim to introduce the very Indonesian pluralistic society in terms of various religions and cultures. We have to boost morale among ASEAN youth that  we have lot of things in common: pluralistic society,” says Galle.

“Last but not least, we are also called to groom future’s potential leaders with their strong interfaith spirit in ASEAN countries,” adds this government official  referring to AYIC’s  framework of reference.

AYIC 2018 is a follow-up event with the same name of the program in 2017 happening in Jombang of East Java where all participants attended workshops and discussion at local Islamic High School.

But AYIC 2018, says Galle, was held with some more extensive “events” including courtesy visits to several religious spots including the Catholic Cathedral Church and Istiqlal Grand Mosque –both in central Jakarta—and met with their top officials including Jakarta Archbishop Msgr. Ignatius Suharyo.

A courtesy visit was also made to Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla who has also been considered as the nation’s influential Muslim figure despite other figures from the Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah –the nation’s most moderate Islamic organizations.

Testimonial comments

Sesawi.Net made contacts with local and foreign participants. They are pleased to share their experience to join AYIC 2018 and also express their testimonial comments as the following: 

Ms Ida Ayu Gede Desiana Wijaya Ningsih from Bali

“I am very happy to participate this program –an international event that I can learn how to practice social tolerance and to learn about our pluralistic society in ASEAN countries,” she writes to Sesawi.Net.

“As an Indonesian member,  I was strongly motivated to exercise mutual respect and boost morale to ink commitment to fuel the spirit of tolerance,” she concludes. 

Ms Rattana Chhou

Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation

“I was  very excited to be elected as AYIC participant from Cambodia. My excitement was soon followed by a wave of worries and concerns: representing my country at such a prestigious youth event. Fortunately, my fears were laid to rest at day one of the event; even though youth participants that I met were of vastly different socio-economic levels, everyone bonded really well and caring like family,” writes alumnae from Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) majoring in International Relations.

“To my opinion, Indonesia is the largest nation among ASEAN countries and possible the world’s most pluralistic society. I was so amazed by its ‘unity of diversity’,” she writes.

“Throughout my 7-days staying in Indonesia, AYIC 2018 offered me a great degree of understanding about the tradition and culture of dialogue and tolerance not only in Indonesia but also other countries in Southeast Asian region. During my delightful one  week trip, I also witnessed and experienced the first-hand inter-religious and inter-cultural life of Indonesian by visiting a number of different religious and cultural sites:

  • In Jakarta: Istiqlal Grand Mosque and the Catholic Cathedral Church.
  • In Magelang, Central Java: the world’s largest Buddhist Borobudur Temple and the Buddhist Mendut Temple.
  • In Yogyakarta: Hindu Prambanan Temple, Great Mosque in Kotagede, Mataram Kingdom, Gadjah Mada University and Ganjuran Catholic Church.
  • In Bali: Puja Mandala, Hindu Indonesia University, Hindu Besakih Temple, and  Den Bencingah Temple.

“I was very happy to have discussions with Indonesian religious leaders and scholars from various religious backgrounds and two high educations namely Gadjah Mada University and University Hindu Indonesia. Not to mention that, I was given the greatest honor to pay courtesy call with Vice President Jusuf Kalla. I got to learn about his leadership in celebrating the diversity among races and religions. I can say it was a life-changing experience,” she writes.

“I still remember what he said, “We are United in Diversity, which means different but still one,” which is truly inspiring and remarkable. In addition to this, Vice President also mentioned about Pancasila which is the official and fundamental philosophical theory of the Indonesian state.”

Grooming Future’s Interfaith Leaders in ASEAN through AYIC Program (2)

“Back from Indonesia to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, I felt nothing but inspired and grateful for the organizers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry for Human Development and Culture coordinating for hosting me and other youth participants and making me feel like home.”

“Throughout the whole stay in Indonesia, I felt so belonged, warm, and glad that I had the opportunity to build networks with other like-minded ASEAN youth. In a matter of days, I gained an insider’s perspective from various religious leaders and scholars of how diversity in different religions can contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability, and harmony as well as the way of their commitment to create opportunities for youths and the dedication to investing in them as part of securing the region’s future.”

“Based on what I learnt from conversation with various religious leaders, the multicultural societies in Indonesia, I personally think that it is important to engage and interact with one another as a form of educating the general public on cultural diversity and spurring discussions on different levels about a specific value. It is essential in the pluralistic society that consists of a solid philosophical foundation for peace as well as the practical aspects of interactions that would make harmonious co-existence long-lasting and permanent. I recognized the fact that Indonesia is a peaceful country which encourages mutual understanding, tolerance and respect towards people of other religions and cultures. In addition, it is also quiet important for all to understand that establishing peaceful co-existence in a pluralistic society requires collaborative and sincere efforts among its people.

“Therefore, religious values must be understood and upheld by all religious leaders and followers, based on my personal point of view.”

Ref: Jakarta, il governo promuove la tolleranza tra i giovani dell’Asean

Last but not least, I highly and absolutely appreciate the organizing committees and all stake holders that get involved in hosting AYIC 2018. It is a great platform for young people comes from different countries to learn, share and exchange their perspectives then implement what they have learned to their community and country as a whole.”

“Personally, I am committed to keep ASEAN spirit and uphold it in promoting peaceful society in my region as well as throughout my walk of life by sharing my experiences in order to establish and maintain peace and tolerance as much as I can. I believe in unity in diversity, although people come from different background, different religion, different political ideology, different economy status yet everyone is bonded as one, as human being who is longed for freedom and harmony,” she concludes. (Continued)


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