I am very much pleased to join you at this Third Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace (MMIDCP). I am also glad to welcome Qatar as a new member of MMIDCP. I have no doubt that the delegation from Qatar will contribute substantially to our discussions.
Dialogue, especially interfaith dialogue, is of the greatest importance to Indonesia. Dialogue among peoples, cultures, faiths and civilizations is essential to the growth of a global culture of peace. We support that global dialogue and internally we make use of dialogue as a way of ensuring national stability and promoting national development.
That is why we in Indonesia have sponsored, in cooperation with Norway, a Global Inter-Media Dialogue that is now in its third year, the latest having been held in Bali last May. The idea behind this initiative is that the role of mass media is crucial to the promotion of understanding and cooperation among the faiths, cultures and civilizations of the world.
This year, the Global Inter-Media Dialogue was attended by over 120 publishers, editors, columnists, senior reporters, academics and media advisers from 61 Western and Oriental nations.
As to the dialogue among the faiths, nothing much will be accomplished without the participation and support of religious scholars. That is why we hosted the Third International Conference of Islamic Scholars in Jakarta in July. The theme of this conference was: “Upholding Islam as Rahmatan lil Alamin for Peace-Building and Conflict Prevention in the Muslim World.”
And it proved to be very fruitful. It established the “Ulama Sans Frontieres,” a body of Muslim scholars with a mandate to propagate peace and work for the prevention and resolution of conflicts all over the Islamic world. Another body established by the Conference is charged with the task of interfacing with international mass media. This is our way of establishing and sustaining intensive dialogue between the world of Islam and the rest of the world.
In today’s ferment for dialogue, there is a vitally important group whose voice we must hear: the next generation—the youth, because to them belongs the future. In formulating policies for our time, we must take into account their needs and aspirations, their concerns and fears. We must help them prepare to assume leadership when the time is ripe for it.
Hence, last July in Surabaya, Indonesia hosted an “Interfaith Youth Camp" that was attended by about 100 youths from the Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue. This is our way of fostering cross-cultural dialogue among the young. On that occasion, the youths took up one of the greatest challenges of our time: global warming.
We must also look into the content of our current national education programmes—whether they actually promote mutual understanding among the cultures and faiths, and whether they foster a culture of dialogue. And if they don’t, these programmes must be redesigned for that purpose.
Dialogue is so important a human process that we must invest considerable resources and our best efforts in promoting it. Indeed, no conflict can be resolved, no peace can be attained and sustained, no partnership can work and no community can be built without dialogue.
And in our time, few things are more important than dialogue among faiths, cultures and civilizations. It is a fundamental requirement of world peace.
I am therefore glad that we have moved toward institutionalizing interfaith and intercultural dialogues and devising the mechanisms for advancing them through a work programme. By a small step we have come closer to the attainment of world peace. Let us not stop until we do attain it.
I thank you.