Today was a day loaded with so many prestigious information, I would even say that I had information overload!
We started off the day like usual, bright sunny day and a new breakfast for the American students. This time it is Nasi Kuning and all its accessories (abon, telur kornet and oseng-oseng tempe). At approximately 08.30 we headed for Universitas Islam Negeri Yogyakarta (Islamic State University Yogyakarta) for a seminar by Professor François Burgat. Mr. Burgat is a political scientist and is a Senior Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Science. Mr. Burgat has spent over than 20 years in middle-east countries: Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria. He spoke about the basic characteristic of culture in the middle east and why people power occurs now, and not earlier. Also why it happens in the middle east and not in other areas. As an example Algeria is a country that has been colonized by the French for more than a decade, and it previously did not have any freedom to speak. Thus the moment they were decolonized they became out of hand and all sorts of groups started to surface.This is actually similar to the situation faced by Indonesia after “Reformasi 1998”. Mr. Burgat also explained that the condition of African countries when being compared are different. For instance Algeria was colonized while Tunisia was led by a protectorate. This difference made a huge effect to their development in the future. The Algerians who were colonized and was not given any choice had a hard time adjusting to freedom, whilst Tunisia with the protectorates still had indigenous identities, though very small.
The lecture flew by, and it was time for lunch. We had quite a quick lunch in Pandanaran Sagan, and shortly after that went to the Multimedia Room, Faculty of Law UGM.
Our next speaker was Ibu Nunuk Murniati, who is a human rights defender, as well as for women and feminism. Ibu Nunuk is a very experienced woman who has devoted her life for her passion and love of equality. She believes that in order to make people understand the concept of human rights, the best approach is culture. So if she was to teach people in Batak, she would have them chat over tuak (traditional wine). This would vary form place to place, according to each customs. Ibu Nunuk stated that making a balance between human rights (democracy) and culture is not an easy thing, and the best way to figure it out would be through dialogues. It might not be a discussion, but it could be anything that would make it easier for the community to give trust to this one researcher/person in charge.
Our last speaker is Mr Tangkuman Alexander Imanuel, who is a representative from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He explained that the Foreign Affairs and United States of America has many programs that builds both ways and that there are to be more and more exchanges of students in particular in the near future. It became an interesting discussion of how the number of Indonesian students who come study in the US is a whole lot more than the US students who come to Indonesia. There was also a moment of sharing experience between participants who had already have the change to study in the US and what they expect in the relationship of America and Indonesia. It was very fortunate for us to have Mr. Washington from the US Embassy Jakarta, who looked in and shared his points of views with us.
As I said before, so many prestigious information was gained and I’m trying very hard to fit it all my head! So again, I will see you all tomorrow on another daily report for our great and adventurous journey.