Prof. Gary D. Bouma and Prof. Greg Barton visited the Center for Religious & Cross-Cultural Studies on October 2, 2009. Prof. Bouma is a conferred Professor Emeritus of Monash University in Australia and an author of the books such as ‘Democracy in Islam’ (2007, with Sayed Khatab) and ‘Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands’ (2009), while Prof. Barton is an Indonesianist and a famous author of ‘Gus Dur: the Authorized Biography of Abdurrahman Wahid’ (2003) and ‘Indonesia’s Struggle: Jemaah Islamiyah and Radical Islamism’ (2004).
During the visit, CRCS Class 2009 had the opportunity to listen to and discuss with both visiting professors. Prof. Bouma presented Religious Diversity in Australia with questions: Can multi-faith societies like Australia hold together? Is religious diversity a serious problem?
Prof. Barton, on the other hand, presented the importance of the term “religious diversity” which is considered a global issue. He said that people should give serious attention to it and should practice it in their daily life in the society. He added that a secular society is not a society without religion but a society that gives honor and good attention to religious diversity.
The visit is part of Prof. Bouma’s invitation to Indonesians to attend “The Parliament of the World’s Religions 2009” with the theme “Hearing Each Other, Healing the Earth” that will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on December 3-9, 2009.
The Melbourne Parliament of the World’s Religion will bring together more than 8,000 people from Australia and across the world, including renowned spiritual and religious leaders, community, academic and political leaders, along with the grassroots.
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