Australia-Malaysia Institute

Interfaith Program

Australia-Malaysia Institute Cultural Exchange Program

The Australia-Malaysia Institute Exchange Program was announced by Foreign Minister Bob Carr on 4 November 2012 when he visited Malaysia for talks with Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato' Sri Anifah Aman. It aims to enhance cultural understanding and awareness and establish networks between the two countries.

2nd Australia-Malaysia Institute Cultural Exchange Program (December 2013)

Inaugural Australia-Malaysia Institute Cultural Exchange Program (May 2013)

Under the exchange program, six young leaders from Malaysia travelled to Australia from 19-26 May 2013 for a range of meetings in Melbourne and Sydney. The participants were selected from a broad cross-section of Malaysian society.

The program included meetings with several senior figures, including: members of parliament and the Governors of both Victoria and NSW; the Australian Multicultural Foundation; the Victorian Multicultural Commission; the Malaysian Students Council of Australia; the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies; the Lebanese Muslim Association; and Together for Humanity Foundation.

The delegation also participated in roundtables at the Centre for Dialogue at La Trobe University and University of Melbourne Asialink; undertook an Interfaith Tour of religious institutions in Mt Dandenong and visited an Islamic school (Mt Hira College) as well as a public school with a high percentage of Muslim students (Wiley Park Girl's School).

The highlight for all was the call on Professor Marie R Bashir AC CVO, Governor of NSW. Professor Bashir enthusiastically welcomed the group and spent over two hours speaking with them about a range of topics, including multiculturalism in Australia, indigenous affairs and women's issues.

The participants were interviewed by SBS and ABC radio presenters. Three of the female participants were interviewed together by Jim Middleton for a half-hour segment on Newsline which aired on 27 May 2013. The interview focused on the role of women in Islam and social media. Participants were also interviewed by ABC journalists Delnaaz Irani, Waleed Aly and Sen Lam and SBS radio journalist Samantha Yap.

Image gallery: Australia-Malaysia Institute Cultural Exchange Program

Muslim Leadership Program 2012: A program in interfaith dialogue and capacity building

The Muslim Leadership Program (MLP), run by La Trobe University in conjunction with the Islamic Council of Victoria, is a civic education program designed to empower emerging voices of leadership from within Muslim communities in Australia and from across the Asia Pacific. The 2012 Program built on the experience of five successful rounds of the program (previously known as the 'Young Muslim Leaders Program' and the 'Muslim Leadership Training Program') conducted since 2007. 

The 2012 MLP brought together emerging thought leaders from Muslim communities across Australia and the Asia-Pacific for a four weeks long, intensive civic education course to share ideas with each other, meet senior Australian politicians, diplomats, academics, media personality and leaders of the various faith communities present in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. It provided participants with a comprehensive introduction to ways in which to build partnerships with other faith-based communities and the larger society. By networking with community leaders, politicians, businessmen and women, artists, opinion-makers and academics, it helped equip participants with an intimate understanding of how they can contribute most effectively to the building of a more resilient society.

Participants were also provided with opportunities to engage in dialogue with those holding different religious and other world views; the skills required for mentoring other young members of their communities; and the contacts, know-how and writing, speaking, organisational and analytical skills to be used for crisis management and conflict resolution.

MLP2012 participants outside Parliament House
MLP2012 participants outside Parliament House

Leadership Training Program for Young Muslims

Two Malaysian participants, Jufitri Bin Joha and Farhana Halim participated in the 2011 Young Muslim Leadership Training Program coordinated by the Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University, in collaboration with the Islamic Council of Victoria and the support of the Institute for Advancing Community Engagement, Australian Catholic University.

Jufitri Bin Joha and Farhana Halim join Ashyikin binti Abdul Barkat and Aizat Kahari, participants from the 2010 program, in undertaking the eight week leadership training program in the company of twenty four young leaders. The program provides a blend of academic theory and practical skill based training through lectures, workshops, debates, role play and interviews including discussions about the way our societies work politically, economically, culturally and spiritually.

The program offers many opportunities for learning how leadership roles throw up challenges in different spheres of life. Participants hold meetings with imams, rabbis, priests and nuns; business leaders, academics, community leaders, politicians and activists; as well as with youth leaders, researchers, artists, performers and journalists.

Program highlights include a discussion panel about the media's role in creating perceptions of the Muslim community with ABC top producers and visiting the Gallipoli Mosque in Auburn and meeting the Australian-Lebanese community in Lakemba.

Graduates at Melbourne's Parliament House
2011 Leadership Program Southeast Asian Delegates at Parliament House, from left Hafiz Salae (Thailand), Jufitri Bin Joha (Malaysia), Abdelnur P. Campong (Philippines), Aan Rukmana (Indonesia), Zulfadhli Gazali (Singapore), Leigh Halud (Philippines), Sakiroh Y. Benharoon (Thailand) and Farhana Halim (Malaysia) (Photo courtesy of Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University)
ABC panel of top producers and journalists discussing the media's role in creating perceptions of the Muslim community
ABC panel of top producers and journalists discussing the media's role in creating perceptions of the Muslim community, June - August 2010 (Photo courtesy of Centre of Dialogue)

Former Young Muslim Australian of the Year meets young Malaysian Muslim leaders

On 4 June, Haji Ridwaan Jadwat, Counsellor, Australian High Commission, hosted a luncheon for young Malaysian Muslim leaders in honour of Ms Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Yassmin was an Australian representative at the Asia Pacific Roundtable and a participant in the 2nd ASEAN-Australia Emerging Leaders Programme, held in Kuala Lumpur from 28 May-1 June. The luncheon gave Yassmin an opportunity to connect with young Malaysians, including emerging Muslim leaders, to celebrate the diversity that both of our countries share.

Find out more about Yassmin Abdel-Magied's meeting with young Malaysian Muslim leaders

Symposium 'Spirited Voices from the Muslim World: Islam, Democracy and Gender Rights', 28-30 April 2011, University of Sydney

The international symposium was co-hosted by the Department of Government and International Relations and the Sydney Democracy Initiative and funded by the AMI.

The three-day international symposium included leading scholars and civil society actors actively engaged in the politics of Islamic reform from the United States, South and South East Asia, the Middle East and Australia including the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and the Muslim community. About 500 people attended the various sessions with approximately 250 attending the symposium's public launch which was officially opened by the Chancellor of the University of Sydney and Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO.

At the launch, Dr Amina Wadud presented the keynote address 'The Spirited Voices of Muslim Women in Islamic Reform Movements'. Dr Wadud is highly regarded for her scholarly works on gender equality in Islam and internationally renowned for being the first Muslim woman to lead a mixed gender congregation in 2005.

The symposium launch was broadcast by the current affairs cable TV station APAC (Australia Public Affairs Channel) and several of the symposium presentations were broadcast on the ABC National program 'Encounter'.