Four UGM students, Agitha Binar Arshapinega (International Relations), Zafira Shabrina (Psychology), Annisia Dwi Baehaki (Management), and Fikar El Hazmi (Electrical Engineering), participate in a cooperation program with the United States (U.S.) in the field of pluralism, multiculturalism and democracy. The activity takes place from 6 to 16 June 2011 in UGM and several other locations in Yogyakarta. Later they will also be assigned to the U.S.
According to the UGM Head of International Affairs Office, Dr.Eng. R. Rachmat A. Sriwijaya, S.T, M.T, the activity entitled Undergraduate Exchange and Study Trip on Religious plurality, Democracy, and Multiculturalism is a collaboration of three universities, namely University of Gadjah Mada, University of Michigan, and Lehigh University. "The activity involving these three universities will take place in Yogyakarta and in the U.S.," Rachmat explained on the sidelines of the opening ceremony at UC UGM, Tuesday (7/6).
He explained the activity aim to enhance partnerships between Indonesia and the United States, particularly in the field of pluralism, democracy, and multiculturalism. This activity lasted for one month, including two weeks in Yogyakarta and two weeks in the United States. Each student will also be accompanied by one supervisor from each university, namely Dr. Eddie Purnawan (Universitas Gadjah Mada), Kate Wright (University of Michigan), and Jake Lule (Lehigh University).
Meanwhile, UGM Senior Vice Rector for Administration, Finance, and Human Resources, Prof. Ainun Naim, Ph.D., says there are similarities between Indonesia and the United States even though separated by significant geographical distance. Ainun also sees high interest to study the culture of each other, proved by the presence of gamelan school in Michigan and the establishment of the American Corner in the Library of UGM. "The event is very important so it’s expected that the programs can be continued in the future," said Ainun.
For two weeks in Indonesia, the participants will undergo lecture sessions, study visit, and live in activity. In the lecture session, participants will learn how democracy and multiculturalism in Indonesia can be held in a pluralistic society. This lecture session will presents Muhammad Najib Azca, Ph.D. (UGM Sociologist and Author of Book, After Jihad), Titik Firawati, M.A (Researcher at the UGM Center for Security and Peace Studies and the UGM Institute of International Studies), Prof. Siti Musdah Mulia, M.A. (Secretary of Indonesia Consortium on Religious Studies), and Dra. Agustine Murniati, M.A. (Human rights activist and former member of the National Commission of Women).
At the study visit session, participants will visit places that are the center of community empowerment in terms of pluralism, democracy, and multiculturalism. Those places are the Syuhada Mosque, Perak Mosque of Kotagede, GKI Ganjuran, Interfidei, IMPULSE-Canisius, and UGM CRCS. Next, in the live in activity participants will be invited to stay for a day at Pondok Pesantren Pabelan and Seminary St. Paul, Yogyakarta.
In addition to learning about pluralism in Indonesia, participants will also be invited to attend batik and dancing training as well as visiting tourist spots in Yogyakarta and surrounding areas before the two-week activity in the United States.