Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia During the Opening of the 2023 Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Conference, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Special Capital Region of Jakarta Province, August 7, 2023
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May prosperity be upon us all,
Greetings of Virtue.
Distinguished Ministers of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet,
Distinguished Secretary General of ASEAN,
Distinguished Chairperson of PBNU Kiai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf,
Distinguished Leading Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Kiai Haji Mustofa Bisri,
Distinguished kiai, habaib, ulemas, religious leaders from various countries, especially ASEAN countries and friendly countries,
Excellencies Ambassadors of friendly countries,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Guests,
We all are aware that right now the world is not in a good state. According to the 2023 Global Peace Index, global conflicts are on the rise. In 2008, 58 countries were engaged in conflicts, and the number has now risen to 91 countries. The death rate has also increased to 238 people due to global conflicts. In terms of economic impact, there have been losses of around 17 percent amounting to US$17.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 13 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). This is enormous.
On another aspect, the religious field, they found the world community is currently starting to become less religious. As shown by this year’s Ipsos Global Religion survey, 29 percent of 19,731 respondents from 26 countries are identified as agnostics and atheists. Based on research conducted by the Pew Research Center, the number of physical violence in the name of religion and belief is increasing. I believe all the participants here have the same commitment as mine that ASEAN must be an example of tolerance and unity. ASEAN must become the anchor of world peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am convinced that the ASEAN community is indeed experiencing a spiritual growth. Indonesia is considered a country where most people believe in God with the highest number in the world. According to the Pew Research Center, as much as 96 percent of total respondents in Indonesia believe that good morals are determined by belief in God. ASEAN has managed to maintain a strong tradition of tolerance. Amidst cultural and religious diversities, Indonesia consistently maintains harmony and effectively manages differences in ethnicity, culture, religion, and belief.
To that end, I believe that the ASEAN community has the potential to be a catalyst for world peace, fostering a caring and sharing environment. It can also serve as the epicentrum of growth and epicentrum of harmony in order to maintain regional stability and global peace. Therefore, I warmly welcome the constructive role of religious and cultural leaders in ASEAN through the strategic initiative of the Nahdlatul Ulama board together with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia in holding the ASEAN Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Conference in 2023.
I hope this forum will contribute to fostering a broader mutual understanding and serve as a strong foundation for developing ASEAN into an epicentrum of growth, an epicentrum of harmony.
I thank you,
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.