Semerang Dialogue Plan of Action

26May 2012
Written by Administrator 
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6th Regional Interfaith Dialogue

The Sixth Regional Interfaith Dialogue developed a Plan of Action which included activities to increase awareness and understanding of religions and faith traditions in the region through active engagement by civil society organisation with the youth, schools, media and government.

6th REGIONAL INTERFAITH DIALOGUE

Strengthening Collaborative Communities to Promote Regional Peace and Security: Interfaith in Action Semarang, 11 – 15 March 2012


SEMARANG PLAN OF ACTION

We, the participants of the 6th Regional Interfaith Dialogue (RID-6), representing diverse religions and cultures, gathered in Semarang on 11 – 15 March 2012, under the theme, Strengthening Collaborative Communities to Promote Regional Peace and Security: Interfaith in Action to discuss visions, aspirations and practical cooperation towards this end.

Shared Commitments

a. We affirm that the Plan of Action is to promote substantive activities which enhance mutual understanding, tolerance and respect for religious diversity in order to strengthen regional peace and security.

b. We reaffirm our commitments as articulated in the previous declarations in Yogyakarta (2004), Cebu (2006), Waitangi (2007), Phnom Penh (2008), and Perth (2009) and acknowledge the achievements of the RID process.

c. We encourage religious leaders, scholars, and media of the participating countries to continue to collaborate and build on existing interfaith initiatives and take leadership roles in furthering the RID process, particularly in civil society.

d. We note the establishment of the Regional Interfaith Network (http://www.regionalinterfaith.org.au) by community groups with financial support from the Government of Australia, and recommend participating countries share information, establish networks, encourage interfaith activity and dialogue, and develop partnerships in promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

e. We call on our governments to continue supporting interfaith initiatives and support the implementation of these recommendations, with special focus on grass root activities, youth interfaith training and capacity building, and the promotion and protection of human rights.

f. We recommend that our governments promote interfaith cooperation across a range of relevant public activities.

g. We recognize the value of other regional and global interfaith dialogues and seek to optimize the effectiveness of the RID process through communication and collaboration.

Plan of Action

Leaders of Religious Communities

We strongly recommend:

a. that religious communities create, maintain, and update national databases of leaders of religious communities;

b. that in each of the participating countries, leaders of religious communities meet regularly to discuss issues of local, national and regional importance, and that relevant information be shared through the RID website and other appropriate means;

c. that leaders of religious communities develop and implement programs supporting interfaith education and collaborative interfaith activities;

d. that participating countries explore the development of national women's interfaith networks and a regional women's interfaith network, and increased representation of women of future RIDs.

Civil society

We strongly recommend:

a. that religious communities create, maintain, and update databases of religious civil society organisations;

b. that religious civil society organisations be encouraged to meet regularly to reinforce the value of interfaith dialogue;

c. that religious civil society organisations be encouraged to develop and implement programs to support interfaith education, collaborative interfaith activities, including education on peace and ethical values;

d. that interfaith activities should be fostered by community leaders, educators, journalists and other opinion shapers, with the full support of community leaders.

Youth

We strongly recommend:

a. that religious communities develop programs for emerging religious leadership to learn from and about other faiths and that religious communities contribute to databases of resources towards this end;

b. that religious communities make efforts to include young men and women in collaborative interfaith projects;

c. that delegates set up a working group to establish a regional Youth Interfaith Celebration Day;

d. that an interfaith home-stay database, including monastic and other locations be developed;

e. that future RIDs include designated youth representatives;

f. that the Asia-Pacific/European Youth Interfaith Forum, last held in Perth in 2007, be reinstituted and convened periodically;

g. that participating countries ensure that other RID members are informed of youth interfaith education programs and capacity building disseminated via the RID website.

We commend Indonesia for The Special Program of the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship 2012 which comprises 15 scholarships for future faith leaders from RID countries for 7 weeks in Indonesia.

Education:

We strongly recommend:

a. that schools and universities make use of religious adherents to educate about religions, drawing on local, national and regional religious resources;

b. that sister school relationships be established to promote understanding, through face to face contact or utilising on-line technologies;

c. that our governments promote safe educational environments for interfaith learning and activity;

d. that music, arts, sports and cultural traditions be utilized to foster interfaith understanding;

e. that religious communities develop a core group of interfaith exponents who have expertise and experience in both their own religious traditions and interfaith dialogue;

f. that religious communities take responsibility for acknowledging and overcoming historic and contemporary grievances;

g. that we acknowledge the essential role of interfaith education in building peaceful societies.

Media and Communications

We strongly recommend:

a. that the RID website be extended to include links to on-line interfaith and other relevant resources;

b. that a working group be set up to establish the most effective use of social media, both to strengthen the networks forged at this RID and to promote the vision of the RID process;

c. that participants share experiences and views of media reportage of religion and also examples of local best practices;

d. that participants share effective ways of assisting media in responsible and balanced reporting of religious issues;

e. that communities proactively promote interfaith proponents as role models for good citizenship.

We commend Indonesia for the Peace Journalism Media Workshop, which will bring 15 young journalists from 15 countries of the RID to Indonesia in 2012.

We take responsibility for:

a. conveying the Action Plan and RID experiences to our communities;

b. working collaboratively to publicly oppose prejudice against any religious community;

c. developing collaborative and preventive measures to limit religious tensions and conflict.

We, the delegates, thank Indonesia for hosting RID-6 and for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements.

Semarang, Indonesia, March 15 2012

Download the 6th Regional Interfaith Plan of Action





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We, as leaders of  faith communities, need to develop a more inclusive view of the religious other, to recognise the humanity of the religious other as a starting point. We need to recognise the essential equality of all human beings regardless of religious beliefs. We need to affirm the mutuality and interdependency of all people... We may need even to extend this and recognise that religious other may, just may, have at least some access to the Truth. We may need to accept that the religious others also adopts more or less the same set of essential universal ethical-moral principles we share; that the religious other has feelings of pain and pleasure just like us; that the religious other has similar expectations about their children and family and the preservation of life, property and security; and that the religious other has the same fears and anxieties about the world and the future, just like us.