The Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity has presented awards to this year’s fighters for pluralism: senior journalist Rudi Fofid, advocate Budiman Maliki and women’s peace group Institute Mosintuwu.
The three winners are considered pioneers for change within their respective societies as they have consistently promoted the spirit of unity in diversity. The 2016 Maarif Award targeted ordinary people doing extraordinary work, especially in terms of fighting against intolerance and sectarianism in Indonesia.
“Those three recipients represent the idea that the dark past could be a basis for the creation of a better future,” Maarif Institute executive director Fajar Riza Ul Haq said during a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday.
“They have been involved in the struggle to find peace in Ambon and Poso. They have also been an important part of post-conflict processes, namely reconciliation and rehabilitation.”
Rudi is a senior Maluku journalist who promoted peace journalism during sectarian strife that caused the death of 2,000 people in Ambon in 1999. In recent years, he has also spread positive energy among the young generation by producing works of literature and hip-hop music.
The jury panel said Rudi was also a survivor who believed that whoever killed his father and older sister years ago was also a victim of the conflict.
Meanwhile, Budiman is an advocate at the Institute for Civil Initiative Development (LPMS) in Poso, Central Sulawesi, which was home to sectarian conflict between Muslims and Christians between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s. The Maarif Institute praised him as an untainted activist willing to set aside his salary for the LPMS headquarters’ operational costs. He makes a living for his family by selling popsicles.
Meanwhile, the Institute Mosintuwu is a grassroots community group that empowers women in Poso with education. The organization is considered to have played a crucial role in encouraging women to end conflict and develop tolerance in their homeland.
“Nothing will change after these awards. In fact, our responsibilities are getting bigger,” said Asni Yati Hamidi, a program director at the Institute Mosintuwu.
The jury members for the 2016 Maarif Award are Clara Juwono from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Islamic scholar Komaruddin Hidayat, Noodjanah Djohantini from Aisyiyah (Muhammadiyah’s female wing), Maluku peace activist Jack Manuputty, who was the recipient of the first Maarif Award in 2007, and The Jakarta Post’s editor-in-chief Endy Bayuni.
The award is named after the institute’s founder, Ahmad Syafii Maarif, who was the chairman of Muhammadiyah from 1998-2005 and championed a more tolerant and inclusive Indonesia.
Source: The Jakarta Post