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Interfaith

Back to listMar 15, 2012

6th Asia Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue Held in Indonesia

Daniela Astrid KleinDaniela Astrid Klein in front of the Great Mosque of Central Java

From March 11-15, the 6th Asia Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue (RID-6) was held in Semarang, Indonesia. The theme was "Strengthening Collaborative Communities to Promote Regional Peace and Security: Interfaith in Action" and the dialogue included discussion about vision, aspirations and practical cooperation towards this end.

The opening ceremony was held at the Central Java Governor's Hall and included a welcome from Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa.

The 116 participants in RID-6 included religious leaders, scholars, civil society and media practitioners from 15 countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam. The major faiths represented were Muslim, Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist, and government officials also accompanied each country delegation.

Daniela Astrid Klein, a young women's leader from SGI-New Zealand, was one of two Buddhist delegates in the 9-person group from New Zealand.

Participants of RID-6A commemorative photo with participants in RID-6

Each dialogue focused on a particular theme addressed through the two plenary sessions and three working groups, culminating in the creation of the Semarang Plan of Action focused on five areas: leaders of religious communities, civil society, youth, education, and media and communications.

Discussion topics included ways of strengthening civil society involvement in peace-building and conflict prevention, the role of education in promoting peace and security and international interfaith dialogue initiatives and ways of promoting cohesion and coordination.

Delegates talked about the practical ways in which religious leaders and civil society groups can promote conflict resolution and peace-building and the value of interfaith dialogue in addressing global issues.

Visits to Buddhist, Confucian and Christian places of worship were also included in the program.

Daniela Astrid Klein commented that the experience enabled her to form close bonds of friendship with young women of other faith backgrounds and made her see how important it is to study deeply in order to be ready to engage in more interfaith dialogue.

[Adapted from a report from SGI-New Zealand Aotearoa (SGI-NZ); photos courtesy of SGI-NZ]