KAAD visits West Kalimantan – International Seminar in Pontianak / Indonesia
On Indonesia’s streets, the dominance of youth is striking. The majority of Indonesians are under 30 years of age. There is much talk of the demographic dividend, which can only show its effect if social mobility is guaranteed beyond the borders of religion, gender and ethnicity. However, the borders are still high in conservative and Muslim Indonesia. The latest stipulation is that Muslims have a duty to choose Muslim candidates. Religious affiliation and ethnic categories play a growing role.
According to the constitution of 1945, Indonesia is a secular state, in which six religions are admitted. In principle, these are equitable. Reality looks different though. The fact that Indonesia is perceived as a Muslim state is due to the dominance of Muslims, which account for 87 per cent of the population, i.e. 220 million. On the other hand, the growing influence of dogmatic clerics and the religious penetration of state and society also influence the image of the country.
However, religious tolerance is not completely absent. From June 7th to 11th 2017, about 400 participants came together in the Governor’s Palace in Pontianak (West Kalimantan) in order to discuss the problems of qualification of the Indonesian youth within the seminar “KAAD visits West Kalimantan 2017. Driving Sustainable Economic Development in West Kalimantan through Technical and Vocational Education and Training”. The seminar was carried out by KAAD in cooperation with the Yayasan Merangat Foundation, whose director is KAAD Alumnus and Peter-Hünermann-Prize winner Stephanus Mulyadi, as well as the Catholic Union of former students in Germany KONTAK, the District Government of West Borneo / Kalimantan and an industry sponsor, and the shipyard “Steadfest Marine”. The event focused on the thesis that Indonesia, though suffering from a weak infrastructure, is still representing a largely stable state. What holds this structure together? What is the role of intellectuals and artists? And which influence do religious fanatics have in the country with the largest Muslim population of the world?
On the first day of the seminar, these questions were discussed by Dr. Heinrich Geiger and Governor Cornelis MH, followed by a lecture on the question of migration (Dr. Sascha Krannich) and an afternoon panel consisting of former KAAD scholars (Dr. Liona Supriatna, Prof. Dr. Hora Tjitra, Prof. Dr. Antonius Wibowo). On the second day, Germany as country of study and research for foreign students and the work of KAAD were presented, followed by an afternoon debate in which KAAD alumni reported about their own experiences and answered various questions.
The great public interest in the event was reflected in the presence of the Governor and the Bishop as well as by the comprehensive support from local authorities. To the participants coming from Jakarta as well as the German members of the group the Dayak culture was something completely new. Thus Kalimantan became a vivid experience of a colorful, plural, and multi-ethnic society in a traditional environment. Finally, the musicians and singers from Jakarta and Bandung, Agnes Hapsari and Renata, who completed the program were most enjoyable.