“One of the things the Strategic Learning Exchanges (SLE) enables is the coming together, seeing one another. It is not about coming out with proclamations, declarations, or plans of action, but it is about that moment of human connection,” Chair of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Religion, Azza Karam, stated in between SLE activities in Jakarta, Thursday.
Karam, concurrently senior advisor in Culture for the United Nations Population Fund, remarked that despite the dialogue not aiming to result in declarations or tangible actions, earlier SLE proceedings had led to other projects, ideas, and initiatives.
“This is since different people meet, different faith-based actors, different UN system meet different government actors, and a lot of projects result from it. It is a human-to-human connection that then enables different kinds of projects and ideas to flourish,” she noted.
The 11th SLE is held at a regional level for Asia, involving figures from various non-governmental faith based organizations, including the Abbot Wat Saket from Thailand, the Karen Baptist Association from Myanmar, and the Council of Islamic Ideology from Pakistan. Several participating organizations from Indonesia include the Lazis Muhammadiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama, and the Indonesian Council of Churches.
The dialogue event was focused on developing join learning, analysis, and networking around the intersections between religion, development, and diplomacy.
The event was held on November 28-29 in the Erasmus Huis of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Jakarta, as one of the co-sponsors. It was also supported by the European Union, the Embassy of Switzerland in Indonesia, as well as other international and Indonesian faith-based organizations, such as the Netherlands-Indonesia Consortium for Muslim-Christian Relations, The Communion OF Churches in Indonesia, and PERSETIA.
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