The Seminar on the Religious Leaders’ Forum in Bali: R20 and the Challenge of Global Peace

Time and Date: 16:00 to 18:00 (Japan Time) on December 6, 2022
Venue: Seminar Room (No.213), 2nd Floor, Inamori Foundation Memorial Building

Title: R20 and the Challenge of Global Peace

Speaker: Ahmad Suaedy (Dean of the  Faculty of Islam Nusantara, NU University of Indonesia, Visiting Research of BRIN, the Chair of the Organizing Committee of R20)

Commentator: Michael Feener (CSEAS, Kyoto University)
Moderator: Arai Kenichiro (Asia University, Japan)

Abstract of the Presentation:
Various publications internationally highlight the new phenomenon of the intrusion of religion into public space and even public policy. This intrusion has two strands: exclusive and inclusive. The largest Muslim civil organization in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama initiated R20 (Religion of Twenty), the world religious leaders’ forum in order to strengthen the inclusive strand. KH Yahya Cholil Staquf, the chairman of NU was the initiator of this forum in collaboration with the World Muslim League based in Saudi Arabia. It invited various prominent religious leaders and sects in the world Bali just before G20 in Bali, Indonesia. The forum was joined by around 170 foreign delegates from five continents and 300 delegates from Indonesia.

Different from other international religious meetings, which have just presented religious trends and the observations or research results on them, the main purpose of R20 was to invite religious and sect leaders for self-reflection and to share the same values , and to forge a new consensus on human values, equality and universal justice based on religion. Religious and sect leaders also reflect critically on the ‘mistakes’ and bad experiences that they did against others. Simple categorization, such as -borrowing Islamic terminology- infidels, apostates, and jihad, has been the cause of current conflicts and wars and led to the polarization of society globally. Religion has been utilized as a political weapon. R20 discussed these issues in group discussions designed to facilitate the reconciliation processes between groups. Delegates narrated past bad experiences. They also discussed the ways not to repeat them again and told various good traditions that need to be developed for religious co-existence. They tried to share the same values and to create new consensus between religions. There emerged a consensus among the delegates that equality among humans and citizens must be based on religious values, and, therefore, religion must emphasize inclusiveness and weaken exclusiveness based on the simple categorization.

I am going to give a talk on what I got and learned as the chair of the organizing committee of R20 such as several strategic issues about threats to world peace, the position of religion, and this forum’s prospects as a movement.

 Keywords: R20, religion, conflict, peace, consensus, sharing values