The International Summer School has been running well since it opened on July 13, 2009. The school has been supporting the participants to develop critical thinking in dealing problems in the society. Through lectures, exposures, discussions and common activities, the participants are learning a great deal of things related to the issue of promoting pluralism, human development and human rights.
On the first week, the participants learned some issues, which are the main topics of the program, such as identity, recognition of the other, democracy, diversity, sustainable development and some other related issues. These were in the introduction section of the Summer School.
As one of the exercises in the introductory section, the participants learned and evaluated some prejudices that they think exist in their countries, and also prejudices from people from other countries to their country. Interestingly, the participants were open in explaining every prejudice they knew, and they discussed the prejudices to get some clarifications. It was like a dialogue that respects each other.
Besides the dialogue or sections in the class, during the first week, the participants visited some places in Yogyakarta. The scheduled places the participants visited were Ullen Sentalu (Museum of Javanese Art and Culture at Kaliurang) and the Merapi view at Kali Adem. At these places, the participants and some lecturers learned the history of Javanese Art & Culture and the history of Mt. Merapi. It made them become closer to Yogyakarta, and its phenomena. The scheduled activity not only made them closer to Javanese Arts & Cultures, but also it reduced prejudices which they discussed in class.
As for the non-scheduled places, the participants visited Malioboro and Kraton, including Alun-alun Kidul. The activity built intimacy among them. They were ecstatic when they were there.
After they visited the places, they then focused their attention in reading the articles given to them as the main sources for lectures and discussions in class. The participants were active in discussing some issues in the articles which were articulated by the lecturers. Mostly, the lectures and discussions were based on theoretical frameworks and field experiences they had, especially as practitioners in a civil society.
Principally, the activities during the first week, the participants became more open to talk to each other. They also developed deeper understanding of the main issues and purposes of the Summer School. Their encounter, as people from different places of the world, was really fundamental in building inclusive perspectives and values to live and work together with others. (JMI)