Dialogue on Christianity – Islam Engagement in Melbourne – Yogyakarta

The weekly discussion “Wednesday Forum” of CRCS – ICRS UGM held  on 6 October 2010, brought up an interesting and unusual topic that was “Exploring Christian – Muslim Engagement: Past Development and Future Prospect”. The discussion was a collaboration between CRCS – ICRS UGM with the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University, Australia, conducted via video conference media. The program took place in the multimedia conference room, Faculty of Law UGM at 13.00, and among the participants were ICRS and CRCS students and also Faculty of Law students.

Performed as presenters were Ass. Prof. Douglas Pratt, a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Waikato, New Zealand, and Dr. Halafoff Anna, a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Australia. Meanwhile, Prof. Gary Bouma, who teaches in the same institution with Dr. Halahoff, was not able to give his presentation.

Pratt commenced the session by presenting a glimpse history of dialogue between Christianity – Islam over a dialogue initiated by The World Council of Churches [WCC] and the Vatican. This dialogue began in the 1960s with the post World War II momentum. Meanwhile Halafoff shared her idea on a more micro area, the inter-faith dialogue which she had observed so far in Victoria, Australia. She said that both Muslims and Christians had suceeded in establishing a conducive atmosphere of dialogue. Some technical errors occured when the presentation was still ongoing. The presentation continued after few minutes without power point presentation.

In general, the discussion moderated by the Director of the ICRS UGM, Dr. Siti Syamsiyatun, ran with full of enthusiasm, some participants were so eager to explore more on the presenters’ experiences over the management of inter-faith dialogue. One of the questions appeared was how the dialogue could be managed in such diverse and different fields politically, economically, and culturally.

To answer the questions designated, Pratt and Halafoff were indeed in an agreement that there are of course some important points urged to be understood by both sides in order to build dialogue. These few points will still be credible into implementations at any conditions of how, when, and where. The discussion ended at 14.30 and the presenters from Melbourne expressed their gratitute to all audience and offered their best wishes to ICRS, CRCS, Faculty of Law and Universitas Gadjah Mada. [MoU]

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