Possibilities from UB Consultation in Hong Kong

Friday, May 14th, 2010, 01:52 WIB

Last month, in November 12-15, 2009, Dr. Siti Syamsiyatun, the Associate Director of ICRS Yogya, was invited as one of participants in the Consultation on Inter-religious Understanding proposed and organized by UBCHEA in Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong. The participants invited by UB for UB Consultation are 13 persons from 10 countries, and Ibu Syamsiyatun is the delegation from Indonesia. This consultation was conducted because the UB has recently made adjustments and few changes in its structure, focus of working, and strategies. Three interconnected areas selected by UB in the next five years are initiatives and creative programs in issues related to environment, indigenous knowledge, and inter-religious understanding.

The two-day consultation identifies some areas/issues that may disturb or hinder inter-religious relations and understanding, such as fundamentalism/ extremism, social exclusion, power politics, control over resources be it economic, politics, social, cultural, etc. These issues might intertwine with poverty, corruption, injustices, gender discrimination, security, and other related problems. The consultations recognizes the significant roles of UB in enhancing Christian universities across Asia in general learning, and especially in cultivating inter-religious dialogue and understanding. Engagements in inter-religious understanding carried out by higher education in Asia must include intellectual, social levels and serves all cognitive, psychomotorics and affective areas if we are using Bloom Taxonomy. In order to implement all initiatives, inter-religious understanding initiative might be introduce through curriculum/syllabus, research direction and community service extension.

The consultation forum has served also as a strategic meeting point for networking. In this occasion, Ibu Syamsiyatun also introduced ICRS Yogya, distributed a number of ICRS’ publications, and looked for possible networking in the near future. Some oral agreements on student and faculty exchange program based on tuition waiver has been reached, for example with Prof. Chi Tim Lai, Chairman of the Dept of Cultural and Religious Studies CUHK; Prof. Samuel Meshack from Gurukul Lutheren Theological Seminary, Chennai; Prof. Yoshikazu Honggo, Director of Media and Culture Department; and Dr. Feiya Tao, Executive Dean of the Liberal Arts, Shanghai University. ICRS Yogya is going to follow up all the talks with formal agreement. For ICRS students, it means can open possibilities for their sandwich program. (Benbask)