YOGYAKARTA - Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) which is an S-3 international study programme in interfaith and cross-culture and is a consortium of three universities - Universitas Gadjah Mada, UIN Sunan Kalijaga and Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana, supported by Henry Luce Foundation (USA), runs an international Planning Workshop with the theme Engaging Southeast Asia: Religion, Public Affairs and Foreign Policy from 19-20 October 2012 at Jogjakarta Plaza Hotel.
The first Planning Workshop in Yogyakarta, ICRS invited researchers, experts and academicians from ASEAN such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Phillipines. After Yogyakarta, Planning Workshop will continue on 12 November 2012 in Boston, the U.S.
According to Dicky Sofjan, ICRS researcher acting as Principal Investigator in the programme, said that the programme was based on the phenomenon that religion has more roles in the life of the state and the nation.
“We expect to be able to build a network comprising of experts and researchers from Southeast Asia and the U.S. to collaborate in research in the relations between religion and political and foreign affairs policy,” Dicky explained on Saturday (20/11).
He explained that the religion has affected the process of public policy drafting in any country.
“In some cases, the lack of cooperation between the state and religion has often caused a conflict of interests,” he said.
Some policy and approach implemented by the state related to the religion and religious issues are not effective, even inappropriate with the current situation. Such condition will cause frictions between government and religious groups in the community.
Meanwhile, the development of power of religions in Southeast Asia, according to Dick, has become an international issue that withdraws attention from many countries, particularly the U.S.
“The U.S. policy on the War on Terror can effectively reduced direct threats from groups that are labelled as terrorists, but on the other hand, this encouraged the growth of extremists in Southeast Asia,” Dicky explained.