Ronald will spend four weeks in Indonesia as part of a United States Department of Education and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Center for Southeast Asian Studies sponsored workshop on Peacebuilding, Interreligious Relations, and Diversity in Southeast Asia.
The project will introduce select university and community college educators, business leaders, and professional school/graduate school students associated with U.S. Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), to issues of importance in the management of peacebuilding, interreligious relations in majority Islamic Indonesia, and cultural diversity in Southeast Asia.
Through the lens of Indonesia, the participants will explore the political and social challenges facing one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world; the role of religion in everyday life and local politics; Indonesian Islam and its relation to the wider Muslim world; the legacy of colonialism on intergroup relations; the position of the state in framing questions of identity; the struggles of indigenous practitioners to gain rights and recognition; and the vital role that civil society plays in addressing these questions in Indonesia’s young democracy. Participants will have the opportunity to work with local scholars and to meet with community groups in the field in Yogyakarta, one of country’s most diverse urban spaces and an internationally recognized center for the arts and education. As representatives from MSIs, program participants will also be given the opportunity to share their expertise on the challenges of teaching about issues of diversity (religious and otherwise) in their own communities.
Workshop participants will be develop educational resource materials that present various aspects of religion and diversity in Southeast Asia/Indonesia (with a focus on Islam). These materials might range anywhere from the development of themed modules (gender, ethnicity, role of religious minorities, etc.) incorporating the Southeast Asian experience of diversity, etc., into course syllabi; to creating digital resources that encourage a greater use of interactive teaching/learning; to building sustainable diversity projects in your community. Project outcomes will then be made accessible for use by educators and those working the fields of interreligious and cross-cultural relations in the U.S. and Indonesia.
Image Source: Torajan girls at a wedding. Wikipedia media commons. Used with creative commons licensing.