This working paper presents two interesting examples of ‘practices of pluralism’ in Indonesia. The authors work in the NGO sector and participate in the Regional Team of the Promoting Pluralism Knowledge program in Indonesia.
Both describe their engagement with the challenges they meet when trying to effectively promote pluralism in local communities.
Farid Wajidi is the Director of the Institute for Islamic and Social Studies (LKiS), based in Yogyakarta. In his paper, he suggests somewhat ironically that the pro-pluralism movement in Indonesia can learn a lot from the varied strategies that fundamentalist organizations adopt when they try to reach their target groups. By comparison, those in favor of pluralism tend to be too elitist and limit themselves to intellectual discussions. Their methods do not reach the general public, argues Wajidi. He proposes that new, more innovative and creative approaches should be considered. As an example, he describes the ways in which LKiS focuses on the youth by inviting high school students to personally experience pluralism instead of only talking about it.
Darmiyanti Muchtar is Executive Director of the Circle of Alternative Education for Women (KAPAL Perempuan), based in Jakarta. KAPAL Perempuan believes that community based assessment is a crucial element in advocacy work on pluralism at grass root level. Based on extensive research in local communities in Bali, Gorontalo and Kalimantan, they developed the so-called assessment cards on pluralism. This is a new instrument, designed to help communities map and reflect on their own local inter-group relations, with a special focus on social justice and gender equality. In her paper, Muchtar presents the first results of the work they have recently done in local villages. She ends her paper by identifying some of the possibilities and challenges she sees in working with this new instrument on pluralism.
Both papers give us good insights into the complexities of practicing pluralism in our daily lives.