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Wednesday, August 27, 2003
 
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Ohio University's Southeast Asian Studies program receives State Department grant

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 28, 2003) -- Ohio University's Southeast Asian Studies Program, in cooperation with the Department of Classics and World Religions, has received a grant for more than $400,000 from the U.S. Department of State to initiate interreligious dialogue and citizen exchanges among religious, civic and political leaders in Indonesia and the United States.

The program is designed to promote peace and stability in Indonesia by significantly expanding dialogue on tolerance and religious freedom in the face of rising intolerance, militancy, and religious extremism. Religious and civil society leaders in Indonesia will be provided with opportunities to interact with their American counterparts through dialogues and exchanges that will focus on civic education, religious freedom, tolerance and conflict management.

"Ohio University's Southeast Asian Studies Program was invited to apply for this grant because of our faculty's long involvement in Indonesia and, in particular, our recent work with governmental and non-governmental organizations to bring peace and reconciliation to the country," said Drew McDaniel, director of Southeast Asian Studies. "This grant will allow us to step up to a new level our engagement in the issues facing this strategically important nation."

The State Department grant will allow Indonesian Islamic leaders to travel to the visit the United States to meet with American civic and religious leaders. A two-way exchange will encourage interfaith dialogue among various religious groups by bringing Indonesian religious leaders to the United States and vice versa. In addition, a third exchange effort will focus on promoting tolerance and conflict management in the areas of Indonesia most plagued by conflict. Indonesian leaders from these areas will tour communities in the United States that have experienced and dealt with similar conflicts.

Rick Kraince, who earned his master's degree in Southeast Asian Studies and his doctorate in education from Ohio University, will direct the project. Kraince has spent several years conducting research in Indonesia and was a visiting research fellow at Indonesia's National Institute for Islamic Studies. He is a part-time consultant with the Asia Foundation's Islam in Asia initiative.

"Having the State Department award this grant to Ohio University demonstrates the high quality of the Southeast Asian Studies program and faculty," said Josep Rota, associate provost for International Programs and director of the Center for International Studies. "We feel particularly proud to be given the opportunity to make such an important contribution to promoting peace and civil society."

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Contact: Director of Southeast Asian Studies Drew McDaniel, (740) 593-4855 or mcdanied@ohio.edu, or Assistant Director of Southeast Asian Studies Karla Schneider, (740) 593-1841 or schneidk@ohio.edu

 
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