Day 17 of the International Summer School on Pluralism, Social Change and Development in Bangalore, India, Saturday 23rd of July 2016.
By Muhamad Buharto
Time flies. Life goes by. Three weeks have gone so fast. Today, the formal part of the summer school, will come to an end. We will continue with the group presentations, evaluate the program and have a certificate ceremony.
Today, the Sustainable Development group will present their ideas. It is the last group presentation, following the other groups, Reconciliation and Social Cohesion, Identity, and Democracy who presented yesterday.
After having breakfast, all participants and staff members were asked to go to Kaikondrahalli lake, at aproximately 3 km from Wipro campus, to see and get a feeling for this city lake. Our walk around the whole lake (took about half an hour) served as the basis for the presentation of the Sustainable Development group presentation. After we returned to the Learning Centre, we had a 15 minute break and then we started again.
Charly Bos (the Netherlands), opened the presentation by explaining theories and concepts on sustainable development, particularly theories of Bioregionalism. This was followed by presentations by the other group members, Siyasanga Dabula (South Africa), Maulida Raviola (Indonesia), and Yanthe Oosthoek (Hivos, the Netherlands) who each gave examples of bioregional practices in their respective countries. Their examples ranged from rural areas to urban areas, showing different possibilities and challenges.
After their presentation, the international coordinator, Caroline Suransky (University of Humanistic Studies, the Netherlands), gave all participants evaluation forms and asked us to reflect and write about our experiences in summer school. She also requested us to submit our designs for the ‘pluralism workshops’ which we will give in our own communities after we return home.
After lunch, we went downstairs to the small amphitheatre setting for the final exercise of summer school. Caroline put down all the photos which she had also used on the first day. These photos depict different situations of ‘living with difference’, from all around the world. On the first day we were asked to each choose and discuss a photo which spoke to us about pluralism, development and social change. On this last day, we saw the same photos, but now we were asked to pick one that symbolized something we had learned in summer school. Each participant had a chance to stand up and do so. It was clear that everyone learned different things, which they will take back to their own country. The staff members, Caroline Suransky (The Netherlands/South Africa), Sitharamam Kakarala (India), Henk Manschot (The Netherlands) and JC van der Merwe (South Africa) also chose a photo.
Then came the certificate ceremony. Witnessed by the three other staff members, Caroline Suransky handed over a UvH summer school certificate to each of us. The certificate signalled that each particpant had completed all the summer school’s requirements. The final activity was taking a group photo.
On Saturday, 23 July 2016, the participants not only celebrated the end of the program, but also celebrated their friendship that has become stong in the past the three weeks.
Finally, thank you Bangalore. Thank you summer school. Thank you friends and see you again!
Muhamad Buharto works as change facilitator and social interlocutor for Sunspiritt for Justice and Peace, a civil society organization in Indonesia, especially in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and Papua. He manages the institute’s community radio, 107.8 Sunspirit FM, he edits student – and youth online media (www.floresmuda.com) and is program director of Rumah Kreasi Baku Peduli-Labuan Bajo, a centre for youth and social change activities.