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December 18, 2010

Wahid-Ikeda Dialogue Published in Indonesia

Wahid-Ikeda Dialogue

Indonesian and Japanese editions of a dialogue between former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid and Daisaku Ikeda

JAKARTA, Indonesia: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, the largest publisher in Indonesia, has released Dialog Peradaban untuk Toleransi dans Perdanmaian (Dialogue of Civilizations on Tolerance and Peace), an Indonesian edition of a dialogue between former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid (1940-2009) and Daisaku Ikeda. In the work, the authors examine the role and responsibilities of religion in modernity, identify the values and ideals shared by Islam and Buddhism and emphasize the need for both individuals and institutions of faith to work together to advance peace worldwide. A Japanese edition was published in autumn of 2010.

The Indonesian edition features forewords by former Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, current Minister of National Education Mohammad Nuh, University of Indonesia Rector Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri and Dr. Said Aqil Siradj, chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama, one of the largest independent Islamic organizations in the world.

Mr. Wahid served as President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001. In 1984, he assumed leadership of the Nahdlatul Ulama, which provides funding for schools, hospitals and other initiatives to fight poverty. Seeking what Mr. Wahid described as an interfaith dialogue in an effort "to bridge Islam and Buddhism," Mr. Wahid and his wife, Shinta Nuriyah, first met Mr. Ikeda in Tokyo in April 2002 at the former Indonesian president's request. Their dialogue was originally serialized in the Japanese literary magazine, Ushio, from October 2009 to April 2010.

Former Vice President Kalla, Rector Gumilar, Indonesian University of Education Rector Sunaryo Kartadinata, and Dr. Dewi Motik, president of the Indonesian Women's Congress, attended the book launch held in Jakarta on December 6, 2010. Former First Lady Shinta Nuriyah and her daughter, Yenny Wahid, who heads the Wahid Institute, were also in attendance.

In a message submitted for the occasion, Mr. Ikeda lauded former President Wahid, noting that he "strove to the very end in the struggle to show [young people] the proper path to advance" in building a more peaceful world.

[Adapted from an article in the December 18, 2010, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]