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Kosmopolis Institute Publications Day 2: Learning about 4 countries

Day 2: Learning about 4 countries

During this second day I am still trying to adapt to the participants from different countries, understanding their backgrounds and accents thankfully the sessions of this day helped me to appreciate our differences further. 

Today, we were divided into 4 country groups; India, Indonesia, Uganda, and Netherland. Addressing the three pre-assessment questions, each of the group presented an introduction on their own countries, the two most important pluralism issues, the institutional engagement, and fears and hopes in dealing with the issues. As we played with prejudices and a glimpse of facts yesterday, we do understand the geographical location, cultural and political situation of these countries, and the issues they are facing regarding pluralism.

The participants from India started the day with their presentation. They came up with two important pluralism issues in India; cultural exclusivism including ethnicity, religious minority and gender, and the fact that the benefits of development does not reach everyone in their society. The problems are caused by language as well as procedural barriers and the infrastructural gap between urban and rural areas. The second presentation was delivered by participants from Uganda and dealt with the problems around political and economical pluralism. The issues include the repressive government, the restriction toward people’s expression, corruptions, and economic inequality.

The Dutch group delivered one positive note on pluralism in their country as gender equality is highly valued. We learned that men in the Netherlands more and more take up their role as care takers in their family’s and are fighting for their paternal rights after divorce. On the downside Dutch society is taken up by the fear of Islam. Following the Dutch the Indonesian group held their presentation. The two important pluralism issues they talked about are the state using identity politics and by doing so misuses its political power and the issue of religious freedom which is compromised by violence and discrimination based on religion. I think these developments have increasingly been a problem since the Soeharto regime collapsed and the society faces a democratic transition.

The presentations helped me to think about pluralism is an issue in various countries and the way we communicate about differences. Moreover, the participants also shared their experiences and institutional engagement regarding with pluralism issues in their countries. It’s very inspiring!

Nor Ismah is a writer of the Matapena Community in Yogyakarta Indonesia. This community works with the youth to develop their understanding of literature and share their stories. Their vision is to build a community of literates around local and deep-rooted values to enrich the Indonesian community and culture.