Dr. Alwi Shihab, a member of Hartford Seminary’s Board of Trustees and Vice Chairman for Labor Management, Indonesian Presidential TaskForce,has been awardedthe Republic of Portugal’s Gr‹-Cruz da ordem do MŽrito, the highest medal of Portugal’s honorary orders of civil merit.
Carlos Frota, Amabassador of Portugal to Indonesia, informed Dr. Shihab of the honor and wrote, “This decoration is the formal recognition by Portual of the relevant role you played, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the reconciliation of our two countries and the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations, after two decades and a half of diplomatic efforts to solve the so-called ‘Timor Question’.”
Dr. Shihab will receive the medal on May 23, during a state visit to Indonesia of Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva.
Dr. Shihab is aleading authority and scholar on Christian-Muslim relations. Formerly Indonesian Coordinating Minister for People?s Welfare and Foreign Minister. hewas responsible for emergency disaster relief in Aceh following the 2004 tsunami.
In 2007 he founded his own political party, Partai Kebangkitan Nasional Ulama (PKNU) or “Party of National Scholar Awakening;” he serves as the chairman.
Dr. Shihab received a Bachelor?s degree from Al-Azhar University in Cairo and completed his Master?s at IAIN Alaudin, Ujung Pandang, Indonesia.He went to the United States to continue his education at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he completed his M.A. in 1992 and aPh.D.in 1995.
While at Temple, hebecame assistant professor in the Department of Religion. Dr. Shihabbegan teaching at Hartford Seminary in 1996. He was senior faculty research associate in Islamic Studies and associate editor of ?The Muslim World? journal. He taught courses in Islamic Studies andreturned in summer 2003 to teach a course titled ?Islamic Mysticism andMuslim Devotional Life and Practice.?
In 1998 he served as fellow and visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School?s Center for the Study of World Religions. In 2002 he become adjunct professor for graduate programs at the University of Indonesia and currently is a member of the university?s Board of Trustees.
He lives in Jakarta, Indonesia.