By : Farinia Fianto
On Monday May 12, 2014 ICIP receives the Australian Muslim Exchange Program (MEP) delegation to its office. The Australian delegation consisted of numerous Muslim activists and leaders across Australia visiting Indonesia aimed to build a greater understanding of the nature of mainstream Islam in Indonesia as well as to strengthen the relationship among the two neighborhood countries. ICIP warmly welcomed Ms. Laila Ibrahim of Crescent Wealth Melbourne, Mr. Kashif Bouns of Australian Football League (AFL) Melbourne and Mohamed Salia Dukuly. ICIP was supposed to receive five Australian Muslim activists however due to illness; two of five participants were not able to join. The Australian MEP delegation was accompanied by Halim Miftahul Khoiri of Paramadina University as the host for Jakarta program.
The meeting between ICIP and the MEP delegation took nearly two hours and started with the introduction as well as a presentation by ICIP team on the organization profile and activities. At first ICIP spoke on its activities and experiences since its establishment in 2003 aiming to disseminate moderate thinking in Islamic discourse that written by Muslims both in Indonesia and international. In its years ICIP has been conducting numerous activities with different target groups from pesantren community, CSO and NGO activists, journalists, organization leaders, and academics. Starting 2006 ICIP has shifted its emphasis on empowering community through education as shown by its project called Open Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) for Islamic Transformation through Pesantren Community that ran in eight pesantrens from 2006 until 2011. Right now ICIP is still focusing in community development and empowerment activities through education.
Both ICIP and the delegation engaged in a fruitful conversation that addressing issues in both countries related to Islam and other issues. Both parties were interested in knowing each other opinions, thoughts, as well as the efforts in overcoming on some significant issues such as education, poverty, pluralism, and other pertaining issues. At the end of the discussion there were numerous recommendations and lesson learning from and for both sides. In short both ICIP and the delegation were impressed by their activities and achievement and hopefully there will be a mutual collaboration between ICIP and the delegation that benefit the two parties.