Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) – the consortium of three universities: Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), State Islamic University (UIN) Sunan Kalijaga and Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW) – is celebrating the tenth anniversary on October 6, 2016. ICRS is an International Ph.D. program in Inter-Religious Studies and is among a handful institution in the world that is based on the cooperation between the multi-religious and non-confessional universities. In its ten years of service, more than eighty four students enrolled into the program that they were coming from across the country and abroad. The foreign students were the representation of the countries, i.e. Bangladesh, Egypt, Gambia, India, Libya, Myanmar, The Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, Colombia and The United States. In pursuance of its mandate to meet the needs of excellent academic scholars and researchers, ICRS has graduating twenty doctors by 2016. They served as academicians, researchers, public servants, NGO activists, and lawmakers in respectable institutions.
On October 6, 2016, ICRS held a gala dinner as the culmination of the series of programs of the tenth anniversary celebration. Beforehand, ICRS organized the gala dinner in Jakarta as the opening this year celebration, competitions of blogger and digital photography, social engagement in Merapi mountain slope, and consortium iftar. The anniversary will be concluded by plenary session in the 8th International Graduate Students and Scholars Conference in Indonesia (IGSSCI), in the UGM Graduate School. The anniversary of ICRS is revolved on the theme Wisdom through inter-faith learning and research and tagline Celebrate Diversity. Those are the reflection the cheered value of ICRS, which are interfaith understanding and celebrate religious and cultural diversity in the journey to the better Indonesia.
In this blessed moment, the celebration was attended by the representations of the three universities, i.e. Dr. Henry Feriadi, the rector of Duta Wacana Christian University; Dr. Paripurna, vice rector and the representation of the rector of Universitas Gadjah Mada; Dr. Sahiron, vice rector and the representation of the rector of Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University. The event found further gravity by the presence of Sri Paku Alam X, the Vice Governor who also representing the Governor of Special Region of Yogyakarta; Prof. Alwi Shihab, the Indonesian Special Envoy for the Middle East; members of the Assembly of Consortium, and other distinguished guests. In her opening remarks, Dr. Siti Syamsiyatun, the director of ICRS, highlighted academic, research, and community engagement ICRS has been carried out, and also some challenges and struggles encountered. Those were part of a learning process that orienting ICRS toward wisdom and modesty, the values embraced into the theme of ICRS anniversary celebration.
On the same occasion, the Governor of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubowono X, in his remarks, delivered by Sri Paku Alam X, recalled the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signatory moment of ICRS ten years ago. It was timely moment to publicly demonstrated tolerance and respect to the other as a significant key to the harmonization of religious life in society. During the ten years, ICRS have done it very well, to promote and create dialogue between religions. “We have an expectation that ICRS will always implement their vision and mission in our daily life, educating people to create leaders and an excellent intellectuals, so that it will lead us to the reinforcement of our unity between nation”, Sri Sultan concluded.
The celebration was entertained by the performance of Consortium Grand Choir, a choir specifically created for the celebration and consisted of the member of choir groups in the respected universities, i.e. Gita Savanah from Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University, Duta Voice and Sorbum Choir from Duta Wacana Christian University, and the Student Choir from Universitas Gadjah Mada. The choir was animated by Pseudo String Orchestra from Duta Wacana Christian University.
In a decade, ICRS has been fulfilled some of its promises and achieved many things. The coming years however are full of challenges and opportunities, through which ICRS can further extending his vision and contribution toward peaceful and harmonious society.