Development has undoubtedly brought progress to humankind. Through development, our mobility is made easier; our growing needs are met; and accumulation of wealth is achieved. However, for many, development may also mean environmental degradation, growing inequality, poverty, violence, and authoritarian governance.
As an alternate vision of development, the nobel laureate Amartya Sen has argued for capability approach to understand the development not merely as an end in itself but also as a process through which individuals are facilitated to do more and better. On top of this approach, human development index was introduced to policy planning to make sense of development beyond economic realms. Several other innovations in policy planning, such as gender development index, index of sustainable economic welfare, and happy planet index, were also introduced to broaden the essence of development that had been very limited.
While there have been improved understandings on development that brought to the front its ethical aspects, these understandings are mostly withdrawn from western subjectivities or secular perspectives. These backgrounds may be well understood considering the existing power of the West and the need to drive this powerful party into action. However, this reliance on Western subjectivities is at the expense of alienation of non-western subjectivities along with their particularly profound element: religion.
This alienation may explain why the level of expression in the East for more equal and sustainable development is not as outspoken as in the West. While many believe that religion emphasizes the ethical aspects raised by the improved understandings on development, this lesser level of expression show that there has been some issue with public engagement in the ideas. Considering how important religion is for East or Asian communities, religion may play important role in mobilizing public engagement for development equality and sustainability goals.
Based on this background, Institute of Southeast Asian Islam (ISAIs) in collaboration with Moslems & Global Affairs (MOGA) Institute and Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities UIN Sunan Kalijaga organized International Seminar on Religion and Social Development in Southeast Asia. The seminar will be held on Thursday, April 12, 2018 08.00-12.30 WIB at Interactive Center, Faculty of Social & Humanities UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta. For mor information and registration: 0877-3913-3638 (Mamad)