Jakarta – Under the auspices of UNDPI-Affiliate Anand Ashram Foundation Indonesia, youth from different sections and elements of society got together on the 1st of February to begin a week long celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, initiated by the Jordan Prince Ghazi and unanimously adopted by all UN member states.
“Our theme this year,” explained Dr Wayan Sayoga, the foundation chairman, “is ‘Indonesian Youth Striving for Global Harmony’. This is well received by our NGO Colleagues, among others Indonesian Women’s Association for Global Peace (IWAG-P), Islamic Movement for Non-Violence (IMN), Centre for Vedic & Dharmic Studies, National Integration Movement (NIM), One Earth Integral Education Foundation, and One Earth School (OES).”
Joehanes Budiman representing the National Integration Movement (NIM) pointed out, “For centuries we have lived on the archipelago in complete peace and harmony. We are determined to keep it that way.”
Maya Safira Muchtar, Inspirer of IWAG-Peace added, “With their dynamism, youth are the natural agents of change. With their participation in events like this, we are sure that there will be no more religious conflicts and violations of human rights in Indonesia and elsewhere on the planet.”
Ni Luh Sukmawati representing the Center for Vedic and Dharmic Studies, and Muslihah Razak of Indonesian Movement for Non-Violence (IMN) both referred to the findings of prestigious Setara Institute, “There have been 371 violations of religious freedom during 2012. The figures are disheartening, but the participation of youth in events like this brings us some hope.”
“The celebrations this year,” said Dr Sayoga, “actually began on September 21st last year, when Anand Ashram unveiled the Global Harmony Monument in Ubud Bali, attended by government officials and representatives of several religions, like Dr Musdah Mulia, Father Franz Magnis, Ida Pedanda Sebali, the Gianyar Regent, the Prince of Ubud, and many others. (http://www.charterforglobalharmony.org/) “The monument is now an Ubud Landmark, visited daily by many. We are committed to promoting World or Global Interfaith Harmony, this is also Anand Ashram’s mission, from Inner Peace to Global Harmony by promoting Communal Love. This is the only way to realize our vision of One Earth One Sky and One Humankind. This year, we are celebrating the event in several major cities like Jakarta, Ciawi, Yogyakarta, and on the isle of Bali.”
Chairman of Indonesian Tourist Guide Association Sang Putu Subaya; Head of Gianyar Department of Tourism Ari Brahmanta; Founder of Gandhi Puri Ashram Indra Udayana; and Acharya Premananda of the State Hindu University; attending the event in Ubud, Bali, appreciated Anand Ashram’s initiative and fully supported the cause.
“The Yogyakarta Chapter of Anand Ashram,” said Dr Suriastini in a meet with the press, “is extending the World Interfaith Harmony Event to another dimension, that is the empowerment of youth and women. Also in conjunction with the 1 Billion Rising Appeal for Women Empowerment on Feb 14th, we have organized empowerment workshops in the Wirogunan Prison and elsewhere.”
In Ciawi West Java, the One Earth Retreat Center where the event was held, Zeembry the Anand Ashram Jakarta’s coordinator explained, “We have organized a movie show on the theme of interfaith harmony, and several other activities during the week.”
“We would also celebrate the event in Monas and Marunda – Jakarta Sunday Morning (Feb 3)” he added.
Dr Wayan Sayoga mentioned, “Something like 700 people getting together to celebrate Interfaith Harmony on the 1st day, and several hundreds more to join in the ensuing days until the end of the week, this is very promising!”