27 September 2018
A diverse group of senior Indonesian women has just returned from Australia after taking part in an inter-faith dialogue and two-week Deakin University course on diversity and inclusion.
The course brought together women from Indonesia and Australia to identify successful initiatives and programs that promote and support multiculturalism and religious pluralism and understand how Australia encourages tolerant perspectives in its diverse multi-faith communities.
Funded by the Australian Government, the course is part of the Australia Awards scholarships program and included 27 women from six religious organisations, universities, the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Indonesian Ulema Council and National Commission on Violence against Women.
During their visit to Melbourne, they participated in an interfaith dialogue with faith-based leaders, visited the State Parliament of Victoria and observed a Hindu Festival.
Course participants had the opportunity to meet and hold discussions with Australian government agencies and multi-faith organisations and leaders in the sector.
These included women from the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights, the Australian Local Government Women’s Association, Deakin University senior women leaders and Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission.
“It is a priority for Australia and Indonesia to increase the connections between our faith communities through this course and programs such as the Muslim Exchange Program and New Colombo Plan,” Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan said.
“It’s important that young Australians understand how Islam is practiced in Indonesia and how much it offers the world as an example of tolerance and respect.”
The experience should empower these Indonesian women to be key players in improving economic, social and cultural development in the organisations and the wider community, and build global networks for future generations of women leaders.
A post course workshop will be held in Indonesia soon so that the participants can discuss how best to implement the knowledge gained through their participation in the course.