Research “Strengthening Constitutionalism and Pluralism among Pesantren Community in West Java Region”.

This study aimed to find out the Muslim intellectual’s perception and understanding on Constitutionalism and Pluralism. The study was important to strengthen and campaign for constitutionalism and pluralism. Efforts to disseminate an objective, true, and comprehensive understanding of our constitution, which very obviously supports and protects pluralism, are important for society as a whole. This was because most people receive information from one-sided sources which promoted the idea that because Islam was the majority religion it deserved to be the basis of the state. However, Indonesia, even in its earliest days, had always recognized the principal of multiculturalism and had made it into the foundation of this country.

Pesantren community which well known as the center for Islamic discourses, used as an object of the study. Pesantren community means, kyai (leader), ustadz (teacher) and santri (student). There are six (6) pesantrens in the West Java as focused object of the study; pesantren Buntet Cirebon, al-Mizan Majalengka, Miftahul Huda al-Musri Cianjur, Man’baul Huda Bandung (Persis 01), Persis Tarogong Garut, and Darussalam Ciamis. In this study there were 60 key informants (respondents) that being interviewed. They were pesantren leaders (kyai/ulama), teachers (ustadz), and senior santris. Beside of conducting desk-study (document, book, and article), in-depth interview and focus group discussions (FGD) were also used to get the primary data. The questions asked to the informants (respondents), were comprising on some issues, such as, understanding and perception of pesantren community on constitutionalism, Islam (including shari’a (Islamic law) and Islamic state), tolerance, pluralism and multiculturalism, civic values, democracy, and gender as fundamental issues of this report. The research was partnered with the Humanist Institute for Cooperation (HIVOS).

Public Seminar “Religion, Ethics and Dogmatism in Indonesia: Fostering Understanding of Current Challenges”

The seminar featured Prof. Hans Kung, the president of the Foundation of the Global Ethic, who also a Catholic priest, theologian and author. He has written numerous books on Abrahamic religions namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Besides writing on these three religions, he also paid serious attention writing on other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Through his foundation he strongly encourages mankind regardless their background to make dialogue in order to create harmonious and peaceful living on the earth.  By inviting Prof. Kung to present public lectures here in Jakarta and Indonesia aimed to introduce, promote and disseminate his ideas concerning interfaith dialogue and cooperation within Indonesian pluralistic society. Despite Prof. Kung’s ideas on interfaith dialogue and cooperation are widely known in particular in Western world, still his ideas here still limited to only academic and intellectual rings in Indonesia. Other purposes in holding the public seminar are to disseminate Kung’s ideas on Islam which are eloquent and represent not only a better understanding towards Islam as a religious belief but also acknowledge the positive contribution of Islam in developing a better and more peaceful world, also to inspire religious communities in Indonesia towards the need to develop a better approach and sincere interfaith dialogue by developing mutual understanding, respect and collaboration. It is hoped that by understanding, developing and applying Prof. Kung’s ideas and thoughts on interfaith dialogue and cooperation people will be inspired.

The agenda of Prof. Kung visit to Indonesia consisted of Jakarta and Yogyakarta activities. During his first activities in Jakarta there were public lecture conducted in Hotel Nikko under entitled ‘Religion, Ethics and Dogmatism in Indonesia: Fostering Understanding of current Challenges’ on April 20, 2010 at Hotel Nikko Jakarta. The public lecture also featured Prof. Syafii Ma’arif, Prof. Said Aqil Siradj, and Prof. Magniz Suseno and moderated by Bambang Harymurti. H. E. Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn, the Swiss Ambassador and Dr. Syafii Anwar of ICIP addressed the welcoming remarks. The event was attended by hundred of invitees coming of various backgrounds.

The second activitiy of Prof. Kung during in Jakarta was a stadium generale in Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. The main theme of the event was ‘Pluralism as a Global Ethic: Searching a Common Ground’. The event also presented Dr. Bachtiar Effendi as the panelist to Prof. Kung. The stadium generale was attended by more that hundred of participants who dominated mostly by students and academics. There was also a small informal discussion among CSO activists with Prof. Kung held in Hotel Nikko. Also there were media interview such as Kompas, Tempo, the Jakarta Post and Metro TV.

After completing his agenda in Jakarta, Prof. Kung flew to Yogyakarta to give a public lecture in CRCS (Center for Religion and Cultural Studies), Gajahmada University, as one of ICIP’s networks in the region. Prof. Kung was scheduled to present public lecture entitled Finding New Paths to Dialogue in the Third Millennium’. The event was attended more that hundred of participants coming from various background such as academics, students, intellectuals, activists, religious leaders, bureaucrats, and journalists. Completing his agenda to Yogyakarta, he paid a visit to Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple located outside Yogyakarta.

Workshop Training II “Open Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) for Islamic Transformation through Pesantren Community”

The workshop training II was conducted at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta on July 12 – 16. It invited 20 PiCs as the participants coming from the eight involved pesantrens in the program. The workshop training aimed to equip and improve the participants ICT skills with further knowledge on ICT particularly on the LMS completing the previous ICT training that was held in UI in 2007 as well as to function the ICT for economy and social empowerment. The training was more likely to advance the participants skills with the new improved LMS, also in the training the participants were introduction on basic knowledge on computer networks to practice on how to create and develop a website for their own purpose. The materials covered including evaluation on each pesantren’s website, the LMS improvement, ICT for business, and guidance on developing website for pesantren company profile. ICIP hired UIN ICT staff to train the participants for 5 days. The workshop training was partnered with the Ford Foundation.

Workshop Training III “Open Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) for Islamic Transformation through Pesantren Community”

The training took place at Hotel Bumi Wiyata Depok on September 27 to October 1. The training invited 20 participants from the eight pesantrens that involved in the program. The event aimed to provide the engaged pesantrens in particular the PiCs information on sustainability of the ODEL based on ICT program as well as to keep them motivated and determined to run the program despite all challenges that available. Furthermore the training consisted of several sessions included fundraising techniques such as improving proposal writing skills, mapping available and possible funding organizations, establishment of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in the pesantren to empower pesantren economically and socially as well as to empower the community who live surrounding the pesantrens.

In the middle of the training program, all participants were taken to visit Pondok Pesantren Al-Ashriyyah Nurul Iman in Parung Bogor West Java. The field visit aimed to enhance knowledge and learn on pesantren empowerment and sustainability. PP Al Ashriyyah Nurul Imam that led by As Syekh Habib Saggaf Bin Mahdi Bin Syekh Abu Bakar Bin Salim or known as Habib Saggaf, has been known for the empowerment and sustainability program so that the pesantren able to provide free of charge education for all santri. In fact scholarships to pursue higher education after completing study in the PP Al Ashriyyah Nurul Iman were available for those graduates who passed the study with the flying colors. During the visit all participants were engaged in a lively and interactive discussion with Habib Saggaf mostly asked him for suggestion on how pesantren to become a role model for the community and most important to teach all santri to be empowered soon after they graduate from pesantren. Besides having interactive dialogue with Habib Saggaf, the training also featured experts as the resource persons such as speakers from Unit Kewirausahaan Kecil dan Menengah (UKM) Fakultas Ekonomi Universitas Indonesia (FEUI) and Lisa Humaidah from the World Bank Jakarta. The training in particular emphasized and stimulated all participants to create and develop SME program based on their potential and ability. The training program was facilitated by Ahmad Yani of YAPIKA Jakarta. The training program was partnered with the Ford Foundation.

Leadership study visit from Afganistan Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA).

The program aimed to enhance the capacities of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs Initiative to Strenthen Policy and Advocacy through the communication and Institutional Building (MISPA). This project focused on enhancing the capacities of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs,Government of Afghanistan, to be a credible, visible and effective advocate within government and civil society to enhance women status. The study visit started from October 2 until 10 to Jakarta and partnered with Ministry of Women’s Affairs Initiative to Support Policy and Advocacy (MISPA) Project and The Asia Foundation.

The number of participants joined the program was 15 participants coming from various regions of Afghanistan and also work and had closely linked to the Afghanistan MOWA. The visit was a part of program that focused on enhancing the capacities of MOWA the Government of Afghanistan, to be a credible, visible, and effective advocate within government and civil society to enhance women status. The MOWA is the lead agency for advancement of women in Afghanistan and in order to enable the MOWA to function effectively, study visits to other countries including Indonesia will be helpful in conjunction with ongoing MISPA capacity-building activities. ICIP has been identified to provide this unique program on gender, governance and leadership in Islamic society for Senior Officials of MOWA.

ICIP arranged activities mainly workshop training for the participants as well as study visits to the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Children Protection of Indonesia, the Ministry of Planning/BAPPENAS and a number of NGO that work on gender and women empowerment issues such as Rahima, Women Research Institute (WRI). During the training, the participants met and had a chance to discuss and exchange insights and experiences related to gender and women empowerment with numerous experts such as Dr. Aragar Putri of the Indonesia Ministry of Health who talked on ‘Women’s rights and Reproductive Health’, Firly Purwanti of HIVOS Indonesia who spoke on ‘Gender Mainstreaming Based on NGO and CSO’s Perspectives and Experiences’, Sita Aripurnami of WRI who talked on ‘Gender Budgeting’, K. H. Hussein Muhammad of Fahmina Institute who talked on ‘Men’s Role in Gender Advocacy’, Lily Zakiyah Munir of Center for Pesantren and Democracy (CEPDES) who spoke on ‘Islam, Gender and Modernity, Humanity and Equality and Gender Mainstream’, Yuniyanti Chuzaifah of Komisi Nasional Perempuan (KOMNAS Perempuan) who spoke on ‘the Role of National Commission on Violence against Women’. The training took place in Sari Pan Pacific Hotel Jakarta.

Fattening Cattle and Super Composter for Sustainable Development in Al Musri Pesantren and the Surrounding Community in Cianjur West Java

It aims to improve the welfare of pesantren students (santri) and local residents by restoring and maintaining local farming lands through organic farming system. The project was supported by Australian Volunteers International (AVI). The AVI and Planet Wheelers foundation funded a small grant to develop livestock in the pesantren. Besides growing livestock, the program also include super composter, organic pesticide and digester biogas using cows manure.

Workshop Training IV “Open Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) for Islamic Transformation through Pesantren Community”

The training program was conducted at Hotel Ambhara Jakarta on November 8 – 12. It attended by 20 PiCs as the participants coming from the eight pesantrens that committed to the program. The training aimed to encourage the pesantren in running the program since it was very challenging for them. It also aimed to enrich the pesantrens with SME business strategy based on their capacity and ability in order to sustain the program.

The training consisted of six sessions included session one talked on strengthening capacity building through ODEL based on ICT program featured Khalid Mustafa from the Department of National Education, session two discussed on online business strategy and marketing for pesantren featured Renny Noviana from Kaskus an internet forum that claimed as Indonesian largest online community, session three talked on website and Learning Management System (LMS) development and evaluation featured M. Kurtubi a ICT practitioner, the session four discussed on business development strategy for pesantren featured Velly Kristanti a business woman and owner of PT. Kinarya Anak Negeri that runs Klenger Burger franchise restaurant, session five talked on fundraising strategy and management for pesantren featured Adnan Anwar from Pengurus Besar Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU) and session six talked on building a strategic partnership between pesantren and financial institution featured Ahmad Yani who was also the facilitator of the whole training. The training was partnered with the Ford Foundation.