Singapore, 11-14 July 2017
The 1st Indonesia-Singapore Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue and Exchange was officially inaugurated by H.E Mr. Lukman Hakim Saefudin, Minister of Religious Affairs of Indonesia and H.E Mr. Tan Chuan Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development of Singapore at the Ministry of National Development Hall on July 11, 2017. Gracing the event was also Senior Minister of State, H.E. Mohamad Maliki bin Osman and leaders of different religions from Indonesia and Singapore.
The inauguration was preceded by a call by Indonesian religious leaders to H.E. Ms. Grace Fu, Minister of Youth, Culture and Community, and a visit to the Harmony and Diversity Centre.
This event is part of the commemorative activities in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the bilateral relations between Indonesia and Singapore.
In the first dialogue, representatives of Islam and Christian leaders from Indonesia and Singapore exchanged their experiences in nurturing harmony and tolerance by enhancing mutual respect and understanding of each other better by walking the talk in various joint activities involving different beliefs.
The launch of the first interfaith dialogue was also attended by H.E. Ngurah Swajaya, Ambassador of Indonesia to Singapore and Ambassador Niniek Kun Naryati Siswojo, Acting Director-General for Information and Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
This interfaith dialogue is aimed at enhancing mutual understanding and establishing constructive network and dialogues among religious leaders from both countries and finding ways and means on how they can cooperate to address common challenges and promote tolerance, harmony and mutual respect among peoples with different faiths in their respective countries.
In his welcoming address, Indonesian Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya said that interfaith dialogue could bridge a better understanding, address common challenges, and mitigate the information technologies and social media to eradicate hatred and spread of extreme views and disseminate harmony and tolerance.
In his opening remarks, Minister for Social and Family Development of Singapore, H.E. Tan Chuan Jin, stated that instead of categorizing people based on their religion, we should acknowledge the differences and find common ground, as there are other ways to relate to each other. He emphasized that the thing that binds us in this world is the sharing of humanity itself.
H.E. Lukman Hakim Saifuddien, Minister of Religious Affairs of Indonesia, in his speech explained in great details how each religion carries out its rituals in a different manner. However, every single religion in this world teaches the same values and principles. He also underlined that as a consequence of globalisation and the digital era, religions are often times misused. He concluded his speech by expressing his hope that Indonesia and Singapore would greatly benefit from this event through the exchange of experiences and best practices.