Muslim Exchange Program
The Muslim Exchange program has been successfully operating since 2002. It involves visits of several weeks’ duration to Australia by groups of young Indonesian Muslim community leaders (such as writers, bureaucrats, academics, workers in non-governmental organisations and religious bodies), and visits to Indonesia by their Australian counterparts. The focus is on building a greater understanding for Australians of the nature of mainstream Islam in Indonesia and, for Indonesians, a greater awareness of Australia's multicultural society.
In collaboration with Australia Indonesia Connections, in 2014 the Institute was delighted to welcome five Indonesian participants:
- Mr Sukron Ma’mun, a lecturer and researcher interested in the interplay of Islam and society in Indonesia.
- Dr Zahrul Fata, a lecturer and head of the Tafsir and Hadith Study Program at the State Higher Institute of Islamic Studies in Ponorogo, East Java.
- Mrs Siti Tarawiyah, a trainer and researcher working towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.
- Mrs Nor Ismah, a founder of the Matapena Writers’ Community and member of the Indonesian Social Justice Network.
- Mrs Ikfina Maufuriyah, an English teacher at the Hasyim Asy’ari Madrasah committed to increasing interfaith understanding and a Board Member of the Semai Jepara Education Foundation.
In April 2014 the five Indonesian participants completed a two-week program, travelling through Melbourne, Shepparton, Canberra and Sydney. Visits included the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society and the University of Melbourne, the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, the Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative and Parliament House in Canberra.
The AII Secretariat hosted the MEP participants at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, along with attendees from the Department and Indonesian language students. Our Indonesian visitors expressed gratitude for the opportunity to visit Australia and respect for Australia’s multicultural society, while the Australian attendees were impressed by the participants’ grassroots efforts in the areas of women’s empowerment, interfaith dialogue and community engagement, and plan to incorporate these insights in the future work of the Institute and the Department.
More information: Australia-Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program (MEP) 2014