To know is to love, as the classic Indonesian proverb goes Tak kenal maka tak sayang. This local wisdom summed up UNDP Indonesia’s latest installment of SDG Talks which coincided with the start of the Islamic Eid observance, popularly known in Indonesia as Lebaran.
Titled “Spreading Peace through Stories” the event was held in partnership with UNDP Indonesia’s PROTECT project which aims to bolster policies to prevent violent extremis. The virtual talks featured panelist such as Andhika Chrisnayudhanto, Deputy of International Cooperation from Indonesia’s counter terrorism agency (BNPT) and youths from faith-based organizations such as Basilius Triharyanto, founder of Katolikana, an independent online news media focusing on Catholicism and church in Indonesia. They are joined by Irfan Kamalee, founder of Peace Generation, a CSO focusing on peace education and Iwan Mistohizzaman, PROTECT Programme Manager.
Nika Saaedi, Deputy Resident Representative. of UNDP Indonesia, opened the event and shared the connection of peacebuilding and the SDG.
“Peacebuilding is critical to achieving the SDGs because without it, we won't be able to create the required ecosystem for progress. In our view, youth are one of the most important actors in bringing peace to communities because they can mobilize issues and movements,” she said.
All panelists agree that peace narrative can be an effective way to address biases which can breed intolerance and conflict.
Irfan from Peacegen, shared his personal experience in dispelling bias and prejudice among students.
“During one occasion in our program, “Breaking Down the Walls”, I interacted with one of students in an Islamic boarding school, who told me he never had friends coming from different background of various ethnicities and religions. When we made the entire program creating the interaction among students with different beliefs, it helped create the nuances on what it means to live in harmony,” said Irfan.
“With Peacegen, we have seen the journey of students and young people. When ones build trust it goes beyond differences, it is about that along with the difference. We are still living in the same neighborhood where there are mutual problems we need to work together,” he added
The panel shared their experience creating safe spaces to advocate for peace message, by working together to dispel prejudices and stereotypes.
Misni Parjiati, from Srikandi Lintas Iman, a community based in Yogyakarta advocating peace shared why women and young girls are potential to involve in peacebuilding process.
“We see many of our participants – students, youth and even mothers - as agents of change in their communities. They shared what they learnt and created connection on how to be the agent of peace, in the households, schools, anywhere” she said. She noted that she saw an opportunity to train women and girls in financial literacy and skills currently in demand by many of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
Milastri Muzakkar from Generasi Literat, a community advocating positive values of creative literacy activities discussed how young people are eager to learn on their local wisdoms these days.
“More young people are involved in the process of recognizing their own local culture and wisdom which emphasizes embracing differences. It provides a strong ground and helps them be agents of peace,” she said.
Iwan Mistohizzaman called on youth to take a more active role, saying” we need to let them, as the torch bearers, to be the part of bridging differences and to overcome complex issues in the future, regardless their background,” he said.
Widi Handayani, a writer who is actively advocate on peace through her writing shared her experience from the perspective of Yogyakarta’s cultural diversity said, “when exposed to a place like Yogyakarta, having a safe space to discuss and share helps to break stereotypes.”
The gathering agreed to look at the Lebaran period as an opportunity to advocate for peace and harmony and challenge our stereotypes and push beyond them.