Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia will seek to consolidate religious leader figures in Southeast Asia by holding the 2023 ASEAN Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Conference (ASEAN IIDC) on August 7.

The conference will be held as the initiative of the Executive Board of Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU) with support from the Religious Affairs Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry, within the agenda of Indonesia's ASEAN chairmanship this year and will be attended by President Joko Widodo.

"The main idea is to build a network of consolidation for religious figures and leaders from ASEAN countries," PBNU Chairperson Yahya Cholil Staquf remarked during a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Staquf explained that PBNU sought to build a strong and consolidated network for leaders of various religions by identifying background similarities of Southeast Asian communities to form the basis for the consolidation.

"Based on our observation, communities in Southeast Asia once shared the same basis of civilization, evidenced by the success of the Sriwijaya Kingdom in maintaining its influence for seven centuries in various regions in Southeast Asia and even in India," he pointed out.

Hence, he affirmed that Indonesia will endeavor to use the historical background as the foundation of its strategy to consolidate religious leaders in ASEAN.

As cited from Nahdlatul Ulama's website, the conference will carry the theme of "ASEAN Shared Civilizational Values: Building an Epicentrum of Harmony to Foster Peace, Security, and Prosperity."

According to Staquf, Indonesia's consolidation strategy is in line with the conference's title and theme, as it will involve religious leaders and highlight Southeast Asia's common cultural values.

The 2023 ASEAN IIDC will take place at Ritz Carlton Hotel, Jakarta, and draw 200 participants, including 11 national speakers, 15 foreign speakers, and 27 delegates from ASEAN and guest countries, such as the United States, China, India, and Japan.

Results of the conference will be further discussed during the 43rd ASEAN Summit that is scheduled to take place in Jakarta in September this year.

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Translator: Sean Filo, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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