“Shine Your Light, the great Light, so that we may grasp the beauty of Truth and follow it, and can grasp the consequences of evil and stay away from it.”

“Yesterday we told all of our students that THIS [R20] is the jihad of today”
~ KH. Azka Sya’bana, Trustee
Pandanaran Islamic Boarding School (Yogyakarta)

JAKARTA, Indonesia and WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina / 9 March 2023 — The permanent secretariat of the G20 Religion Forum (R20) has released the second of two films documenting the inaugural R20 Summit in Bali and a subsequent planning conference held in Yogyakarta, the heartland of Javanese civilization. Created by a team of European filmmakers who have decades of experience producing advertisements for some of world’s major fashion houses and corporate brands, the 10-minute film enables viewers to directly experience the culture that gave birth to Nahdlatul Ulama and the R20.

Following two days of intensive, formal deliberations among more than 400 religious leaders and scholars gathered from around the world and across its major faith traditions, R20 delegates traveled from Bali to the island of Java to plan the future direction of the R20.

On the evening of their arrival, the royal family of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta — a bastion of traditional Javanese culture and heirs to the Second Mataram Dynasty (est. 1586) — invited R20 delegates to a gala dinner at the Karaton (Royal Palace), hosted by HRH Princess Mangkubumi Hamemayu Hayuning Bawana Langgeng ing Mataram, the Crown Princess of Yogyakarta and daughter of the current Sultan, Hamengkubuwono X.

Delivering an address at the gala dinner, KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf — founder and Chairman of the R20, as well as General Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board — said, in remarks edited for publication:

Your Royal Highness, I am accompanied by religious leaders from throughout the world, who have participated in the G20 Religion Forum, or R20, Summit in Bali. They have come to Java to understand how and why the R20 emerged from this society, the cradle of Indonesia’s great civilization and home to the largest Muslim-majority democracy on earth.

Dear friends, you are seated at the heart of Javanese civilization, and a Sultanate that has inspired people for more than four centuries. When Indonesia proclaimed its independence from colonial rule 77 years ago and the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia was born, the Sultanate of Yogyakarta and its leaders voluntarily joined this fledgling nation, even though they themselves possessed all the instruments of sovereignty. This was a tremendous sacrifice, and a demonstration of great trust in a new form of socio-political order — the nation state — that would shape the future of humanity.

We are honored to attend this royal dinner, as we gather to learn how we may contribute, in a constructive manner, to the betterment of every nation and to the wellbeing of every person on earth.

The evening’s entertainment included a bedoyo dance (pictured above), which may only be performed in the presence of Javanese royalty

Students at Pondok Pesantren Pandanaran Islamic boarding school celebrate the conclusion of the G20 Religion Forum (R20)

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