The first international Conference was conducted from 14 to 16 January, 2007 in Yogyakarta. The topic was on “The Problem and Promise of Inter-Religious Studies in Indonesia.” This conference was intended as an inauguration of the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS-Yogya) and was expected to start continuing discussion about the direction toward which a program in religious studies in a specific Indonesian context should develop.
28 different people participated as speakers, respondents, MCs or moderators, including 10 non-Indonesians (8 from outside Indonesia) and 10 would (all sessions included at least 1 woman). The religious diversity of the speakers included 14 Muslims, 7 Protestants, 3 Catholics, 1 Budhist and 3 of secular/unknown religion. Among the speakers were Prof. Dr. Alwi Shihab, Special Envoy for the President; Prof. Jahja Umam, General Director for Education of the Department of Religion; Prof. Anthony Reid, National University of Singapura, Prof. Syafii Ma’arif, Former Chair of Muhammadiyah; Prof. Mark Woodward, Arizona State University; Prof. Jim Veitch, Victoria University, NZ; Dr. Haidar Bagir, Mizan; Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah; Dr. Vincent J. Miller, Georgetown University; and Dr. Rita M. Gross, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
160 people ( including speakers and committee) attended part or all off the conference. The first session on Monday morning was open to public and drew a capacity crowd about 250. Most participants expressed joy and enthusiasm, not only for the content of the session but also for the launching of ICRS-Yogya. The sessions were focused and featured gifted speakers who presented nuanced, profound papers related to real problems in Indonesia that simulated intense discussion among participants. The even was funded by the Ford Foundation.