Writing Competition on Religious Freedom and Interfaith Harmony 2023
The 1000 Abrahamic Circles Creative Competition 2023 opened its submission portal from 6 November 2023 to 3 December 2023. During that period, we received a total of 244 entries from High School students and 404 entries from University students across Indonesia. In total, we received 648 submissions. The submissions were remarkably diversified, coming from various regions, including Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua, and Timor Island. High school students from 60 different cities participated, while University students contributed from 63 different cities. Students come from 189 High Schools and 148 Universities took part in the competition.
The range of creative writing submissions was diverse, with students conveying their viewpoints, perspectives, and experiences through articles, essays, short stories, and poems. Some students demonstrated notable creativity by presenting innovative ideas to address tolerance issues in Indonesia. They proposed potential government actions and even suggested the development of an application accessible to individuals of all religions. This application aimed to facilitate mutual understanding by enabling users to learn about each other's religions, fostering respect and comprehension among diverse communities.
The quality of the entries suggests that the students engaged in the Creative Competition were driven by more than just the allure of awards. It became evident that the students were profoundly concerned about the common challenges they had faced regarding interfaith tolerance. Furthermore, the submitted works reveal that the participants passionately addressed these societal concerns, emphasizing their commitment to providing important insights and solutions.
The enthusiasm behind their entries goes beyond simple competition; it reflects a genuine commitment to encouraging positive change and promoting understanding within their communities as future young leaders.
Mini Discussion and Poem Reading with the Winners Theme : "Youth and Interfaith"
Some of the winners also had the opportunity to participate in a mini moderated discussion at MyAmerica Space in the U.S. Embassy Jakarta. There, they shared their views on the pivotal role of youth in promoting religious freedom and fostering interfaith harmony. For rewatch, click :
Some of the submissions were chosen to be published in the opinion column of Rakyat Merdeka (Indonesian Newspaper) :
https://rm.id/baca-berita/humaniora/210127/where-is-justice-for-adherents-of-local-beliefs-in-indonesia by Bulan Lestari Yasinta Simatupang
“I am happy that I could share my joy in writing through this program. It showed me how important it is for people to understand and respect each other. This experience made me realize that we should all work together to build a harmonious and inclusive society where we can embrace our differences.”
Finanazwa Ayesha, 17 years old, Denpasar, First Winner of High School Category
“The 1000 Abrahamic Circles Creative Competition is a wonderful way for the younger generation to learn and go beyond our conventional perspectives. The competition allows us to have a greater purpose that we are not only competing for prizes but somehow our writings could make a difference somewhere else in the world. To remind us of our shared identity as a species who are capable of loving and being loved. That we can touch hearts and bring peace to a troubled world. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.”
Juan Pisente Widjaja, 22 years old, Jakarta, Third Winner of University Category
“Participating in the 1000 Abrahamic Circles Creative Competition not only allows me to practice my writing skills but also offers a chance to learn different and significant topics. The chosen topic not only presents a challenge but also opens the door to exploring new and important issues. It has given me the platform to showcase that idea that religion isn’t something that divides us — to show that the topic of pluralism in Indonesia is a subject worth remembering. I am grateful to be able to also practice my writing skills as well as contribute to the narrative of Indonesia's diversity through my writing.”
Malika Abel Rayyn Medina, 18 years old, Bandung, Third Winner of High School Category
Through the 1000 Abrahamic Circles Creative Competition, I was fortunate to have the golden opportunity to creatively address the crucial topics of religious freedom and tolerance, which hold significance in the ongoing discussions about peace amidst conflicts worldwide. Nevertheless, the discussions surrounding the theme of peace often lack inclusivity, prompting me to emphasize a feminist approach as a potential key to this problem. Women have consistently played vital roles in addressing global issues from the grassroots level, and the Creative Competition, with its inclusivity towards various themes and writing styles, provided a platform for me to express my concerns in a beautiful piece. I hope this piece can inspire the world to pursue peace and recognize the importance of intersectionality in addressing various issues. Participating in the competition allowed me the opportunity to have a positive impact on others and contribute to a more peaceful world through my writing.
Gracia Ayni Warella, 19 years old, Cilacap, Fourth Winner of University Category
“Winning a top 5 spot in the 1000 Abrahamic Circles Creative Competition was like stepping into a spotlight of unity and understanding. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to discover new skills in writing, express my thoughts, and perhaps make a positive impact. As a Grade 10 student, this competition gave me a chance to speak up about religious freedom and interfaith harmony in Indonesia. The theme #CraftingInterfaithHarmony perfectly captured the idea that we, the young generation, are like builders shaping a future where everyone's beliefs are respected. This is more than simply a competition; it is an opportunity for students like me to be heard and make a genuine impact in fostering a world where empathy and understanding are the building blocks of harmony.”
Iona Hannaya Ujung, 15 years old, Jakarta, Fifth Winner of High School Category