The Hartford Seminary cohort touched down in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, October 13, to be greeted by the smiling face of Hartford Seminary Trustee and the Indonesian President’s Special Envoy to the Middle East and Islamic Cooperation Dr. Alwi Shihab. It was at the invitation of Dr. Shihab that his fellow board members, faculty and staff at Hartford Seminary were asked to make the trip, and they were delighted to accept the invitation. He and his staff have taken such care and attention to every detail in arranging a schedule full of experiences, connections, and dialogue.
Hartford Seminary’s visit to Indonesia was also made possible with cooperation of the All Indonesian Muslim Intellectual Association (ICMI) led by Chairman Prof. Dr. Jimly Asshiddiqie, SH.
The group visited Jakarta Theological Seminary, the oldest theological college or university in Indonesia, where the group was delighted to meet with a good friend of Hartford Seminary, Joas Adiprasetya, who is the former rector of Jakarta Theological Seminary, as well as the current rector, Yos Soleiman, Steven Suleeman, and several other faculty members. We were also delighted to see IPP graduate Erich von Marthin, who is now on the faculty at Jakarta Theological Seminary.
On the same day, the group went to Al-Azhar University in Kebayoran for an International Conference on “Religion and Culture.” President Heidi Hadsell and Trustee Alwi Shihab participated in a press conference discussing the Conference later that day.
Trustee Dean Ahlberg gave the opening speech from Hartford Seminary at the International Conference. Dr. Hadsell and Dr. Shihab were joined by Dr. Azyumardi Azra for a Dialogue Panel.
The day concluded with a wonderful dinner with the Deputy U.S. Ambassador. Dr. Alwi Shihab and his wife, Ashraf, were in attendance along with many other religious leaders from Jakarta and friends of Hartford Seminary.
The group greeted the future generation on its next visit. As the bus pulled up to the Durunnajah Islamic Boarding School, there were children lined up as far as the eye could see. A welcome song was accompanied by drums played by the boys. The group walked through the path way that led to the school where they were greeted by students performing martial arts, a marching band, and many other clubs performing for the group. The cohort met with the leaders and faculty of the school as well as many of the students and got a tour of the campus. An MOU of Cooperation was signed between Hartford Seminary and the Darunnajah Islamic Boarding School.
The group then went to Nahdhatul Ulama (NU) to meet with members of the Executive Board. NU has an active MOU with Hartford Seminary.
On Sunday, the group rested and visited the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. They toured the aviary and the reptile museum. The group also tried fresh coconut milk before returning to the hotel for lunch.
The group finished the day visiting Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Indonesia.