Samsul Ma’arif: Wasn’t Merely Improved in Terms of Open Mindedness

“CRCS made me jump and I feel that CRCS is my foundation. So, my study in America became easier.”That was what Samsul Ma’arif, CRCS 2001 alumnus, said when asked about CRCS contributions to his career. Samsul, known as Anchu to many, is now doing research for his dissertation about Amatoa Kajang, a local religion, in South Sulawesi. For him, his success now is a continuity of his study which started from his undergraduate degree, and CRCS, in this case, has already given a high jump to his study.

For Anchu, who was born in Wajok and grew up in East Kalimantan and South Sulawesi, since he was a kid he already experienced moving to several places for his studies. He felt a high jump when he moved to Yogyakarta for his master degree at CRCS.

For him, CRCS is on a higher level compare to his undergraduate degree at the Islamic State Institute of South Sulawesi. He further said that CRCS has changed his way of thinking. “So, if I imagine that from the Islamic State institute to CRCS, I was not merely improved in terms of open-mindedness”, Anchu said. He even took another master degree for one and half year at Florida International University in Miami. “I have to acknowledge that CRCS has big contribution, CRCS is very good and helpful to me to be open. CRCS opens our thinking to understand other people religions based on their own perspectives. That helps me understand religions”,Anchu emphasized.

For Anchu, his experience in inter-religious dialogue when he was still in his undergraduate was different from what he experienced at CRCS. In his undergraduate, the dialogue was limited in forums. “At CRCS, we were in class, institution, in campus, and socialization was continued outside the campus, wherever. So, academic theories that we developed and learned were really supported by inter-religious socialization¬¶ It seems to me there were no gap, and it helped us see the beauty we can get from those situations”, Anchu added.

A father to one daughter, Anchu is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at the School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies at Arizona State University in the United States of America; he is now on his fourth year of study.

As part of his study, he is now doing his dissertation research in South Sulawesi which he started last March 2009 and will end on February 2010. His dissertation topic is still related to his thesis topic when he was at CRCS but his research now is more comprehensive and it needs a longer time than before.

In his research, Anchu examines the survival strategy of the local people in facing attacks from outside their community, by state or world religions. The high intensity of rituals in his field is something very interesting for him.

If could not go back to America to finish his dissertation, Anchu thinks that in Indonesia, CRCS is the place that can help him secure for the literatures he needed. Besides that, he can enjoy exploring the literatures at CRCS library which day by day improves its book collections; he can also interact with the academics at CRCS. “Reinvent our sense of belonging to CRCS, Anchu ended with a smile. (JMI)

This post is also available in: Indonesian

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