Life Changing Experience and Comfort Zone

Elma Haryani, CRCS alumna 2001, in an interview with CRCS, said that her current work has been influenced by her experience at CRCS. “I’m more ready to be different and open to differences, meaning that I’m ready to open myself to everything that I have, and externally I’m ready to accept everything. I am better able to appreciate differences,” said Haryani, who is known as “Elma” to many. Nevertheless, she also gave criticism to CRCS.


This mother of two children has a career as a lecturer at an international education institution named The Islamic College, Jakarta. In addition to teaching at this institution and several collaborator universities (Islamic State University of Bandung and Paramadina University), she also serves as Head of Cooperation and Student Affairs Department at her campus.


Elma sees her work now as having been influenced by experiences that she had when she studied at CRCS. Elma, who is a descendant of Buginese and Madurese, developed her study interest, religion and gender, at CRCS. This interest is also manifested in her work. “Studying gender is a challenge for me, and this phenomenon is not only in certain religions, but also in every religion, seen from religious studies perspective,” she said with smile.


In religion and gender studies, Elma prefers to criticize the cause, which is more a tendency or indication. For her, she likes the studies at the level of philosophy. Elma does not just express her knowledge of religion and gender in the class room. She has also been active in several Islamic organizations for 12 years. She served as a trainer for women’s issues using a religion and gender approach.


Elma follows several aspects that she acquired from CRCS, especially ‘the peace building process’. For curricula related to religious teachings, she invites lecturers who teach the subject from the perspective of their own religions.


She views her experience at CRCS as a life changing experience. Elma, who grew up in a boarding school (pesantren) environment, feels that her experience was different at CRCS. “There is a kind of enrichment, spiritually and sociologically. Spiritually, I’m more humble, in that I can better respect everything. Sociologically, I have many new friendships with people from many groups, which previously was monolithic, and now is more plural. This is the most important phase in my maturity of the expertise process, personally and socially. Because who does not know that CRCS has networks wherever and whenever,” Elma said.


However, Elma also sees a negative side from circumstances at CRCS. “CRCS is a comfort zone, which almost minimizes criticism, because CRCS is a comfortable and warm community that has clannish and good networks. I see that it almost loses its challenge. It may be not so good, and what about the next 10 years? It would not be really challenging anymore, because everything is already comfortable,” she said. (JMI)

This post is also available in: Indonesian


Leave a Reply