Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SUSI on Religious Pluralism (RPA) 2011

In the last five weeks, I joined a group of 19 students from across Indonesia in a program sponsored by US Department of State, Study of United States Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Religious Pluralism 2011. This program took place mainly at Temple University, Philadelphia. It was organized by Dialogue Institute of Temple University (DI) and also International Centre for Contemporary Education (ICCE).

In this post, I will only just state what this program is all about. My whole experience there will be divided into some posts as it is so valuable to be included in one post.

About the Program
As the title goes ‘SUSI for Student Leaders on Religious Pluralism’, this program selects 20 young Indonesian student leaders. I met 19 other extraordinary students from all across Indonesia. They are the brightest students I ever met. In this program, we studied Religious Pluralism in US. We learned about the position and the role of religion in a-proclaimed-as secular country. We learned about how each religion interacts to each other whether in peace or in conflict. We learned how to resolve conflict with dialogue. We learned that dialogue is not a debate. We learned so many things and none of this leads to syncretism.

During the five week experience, we were introduced to various houses of worship from many religions. For most of us, it was a very first experience entering church, synagogue or temple. The reason of this activity is nonetheless to introduce to us about the tradition within each religion. There is no other agenda except to let others know about the tradition within the ‘other’s religion. By doing this, I especially know more about the others and it minimizes the lack of knowledge about the others that stem from ignorance to them.

And who says that this program offers you only seriousness and tense thoughts all day long? I really had fun during my five weeks. The class was so much fun. We were taught with teaching methods I never experienced before. It really was a two way teaching that included both teachers and students.

We also had fun when we had ‘holiday’ at the end of the program to either Disney Magic Kingdom or Islands of Adventure, Universal Studio, Orlando, Florida. I preferred to go to the Islands of Adventure where I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

(Yuyu, Fitri, Ratna, Febe, Zeva, Shuresj, Dr. Racell, Jessica, Ilham, Ridwan, Gufron, Rizqi, Asep, Fajrin, Ms. Eugene, Ms. Nina, Hayati, Awa, Elaine, Hamli, Iman, Gugun, Safrin)
But the true fun was when I could gather with friends from various area in Indonesia also with my friendly professors, American friends, and my American host family.


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