Indonesia Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) of Universitas Gadjah Mada has paid serious attention to the rampant phenomenon for intolerance to faith, violence against the minorities and the radical ideology emerging among society. The study programme initiated by the consortium of three universities, - Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Sunan Kalijaga and Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana (UKDW) – is committed to educating students to always spread knowledge and tolerance as well as upholding religious life.
Such discussion emerged in the signing of cooperation agreement between UGM and ICRS done by Rector of UGM, Prof. Ir. Dwikorita Karnawati, M.Sc., Ph.D., and ICRS Chairperson, Dr. Siti Syamsiyatun, at UGM Main Office on Wednesday (24/2). Attending the event were Rector of UKDW, Ir. Henry Feriadi, M.Sc., Ph.D., representatives from UIN Sunan Kalijaga and ICRS managers.
Prof. Dwikorita said the ICRS had been established for around ten years. ICRS was not only a consortium between three universities but it also carried a noble duty to maintain the spirit of diversity among citizens. “This consortium is a strategic and appropriate place for different faiths and cultures to unite and maintain our diversity,” said the Rector.
In her opinion, the current state condition is put to test by events that show intolerance threats and radicalism phenomenon. She said the ICRS had to play a role in giving a solution to this issue by generating graduates that are able to block those threats and instead spread the spirit and knowledge on the importance of protection by the state of all its citizens.
Dr. Siti Syamsiatun said since the establishment in 2006 till today, ICRS had inaugurated 16 doctors. ICRS has 84 active students, comprising 66 Indonesian and 18 international students. Intolerance and radical ideology, according to Siti, were a challenge facing each graduate when they engage themselves among society and also policy makers. “We learned that there are some public officials who find it difficult to differentiate between their personal belief and position as public officials who need to protect all citizens,” she said.
Siti added apart from education, the ICRS also conducted research related to interfaith relations, public policy, and social transformation in Southeast Asia which involves researchers from eight ASEAN countries and the U.S. “The research started since 2013 and it is still ongoing until today,” she said.