The UGM Center for Security and Peace Studies (PSKP), along with the Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board (PBNU) and UGM Press, CSCV, and UNU Yogyakarta, has launched the proceedings of the G20 Religion Forum, also known as R20.
The launch of the book titled “Proceedings of the R20 International Summit of Religious Leaders” occurred at the Senate Hall of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) on Friday (4/8).
The R20 proceedings book comprises 47 papers and includes reflective notes and shared agreements from various global religious leaders regarding concerns over conflicts with a socio-religious background that undermine the order of human civilization.
It also includes a compilation of agreements and ideas from religious figures who directly participated in the R20 event in Bali in early November 2022.
The Chair of the Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board, KH Yahya Cholil Staquf or Gus Yahya, stated in his speech that the R20 initiative is an effort to transform religion into a source of solutions for global dynamics.
“We are seeking ways to uphold our religion and make it a contribution to future civilization, one in which all societies will not suffer from wars. That’s why the R20 initiative was created, to transform religion from being a source of problems to a source of solutions,” he said.
According to the Head of the Center for Security and Peace Studies, Dr. Ahmad Munjid, the R20 forum has brought a new perspective that religion is not part of the problem but rather the solution.
“And we know what is happening in ASEAN, especially in Thailand, Myanmar, and the Philippines, is very concerning,” he said.
Dr. Munjid added that a survey by an institute in Sweden indicated that democracy is not well. In 2022, 60% of the world’s population lived under authoritarian rule, and this condition deteriorated further in 2023, with 73% of the world’s population living under autocratic leadership.
He noted that all parties should pay attention to the upcoming year as three elections in three major countries will determine the state of democracy. The elections in Indonesia, the United States, and India involve large populations. The results of these elections will significantly impact whether democracy improves or declines.
“That’s what I mean when I say democracy is not doing well. Especially with wars and the fact that many world leaders who were elected democratically are not democratic,” he stated.
He provided an example from the Philippines, where the child of former President Marcos, who was removed from power due to corruption and authoritarianism, has now come to power. Previously seen as corrupt and authoritarian, Marcos is now considered a great leader.
“It should be noted that many leaders are democratically elected, but they are not truly democratic,” he added.
The Rector of UGM, Professor Ova Emilia, expressed appreciation for PBNU’s initiative in organizing a series of interfaith dialogue forums, with the upcoming ASEAN IIDC as the latest event.
According to her, Indonesia’s leadership in this forum demonstrates how the role of religious diplomacy can create peace and social stability, build dialogue, and promote peace between nations.
“I highly appreciate the PBNU’s initiative in coordinating the ASEAN IIDC and successfully involving 150 religious leaders from ASEAN, including Indonesia. The main point for scholars is to pave the way for achieving values, bridging differences, promoting interfaith dialogue, and empowering humanity,” she said.
The rector hopes that the significant ideas presented in this book can serve as a reference for global leaders, especially as considerations for making international policies.
Author: Agung Nugroho