Japan, UIN News Online – Professor of History of Islamic Culture as well as former Rector of UIN Jakarta period of 1998-2006 Dr. Azyumardi Azra CBE MA was awarded with The Order of the Rising Sun: Gold and Silver Star from the Japanese government. The award was pinned directly by Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, Tuesday (7/11/2017). The highest award given by Japan to non-Japanese figures was presented by Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe.

As quoted by UIN News Online from http://www.id.emb-japan.go.jp, the main reason for the award was basedbased on Azra’s contribution in enhancing academic exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and Indonesia. This refers to the time when Azra was the Rector of UIN Jakarta (1998-2006) by initiating the Japan-Indonesia Friendship Memorial program for the development of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FKIK) UIN Syarif Hidayatullah (2003-2006).

Additionally, Azra also initiates the pesantren young kiyai visits program to Japan for two weeks to learn Japanese culture directly. This program has been going on since 2004 until now.

Furthermore, Azra is considered to be eligible to be awarded as a guest speaker of various conferences and dialogue sponsored by Sasakawa Peace Foundation Tokyo. The activities aimed at promoting peace and democracy based on Indonesia’s experiences in Amman, Doha, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Brussels are mainly done by Azra while still holding the position of Deputy of Welfare at the Vice Presidential Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia (2007-2009) and now the Vice President Special Staff for Bureaucratic Reform.

With this award, Azra is listed as one of the few Indonesian leaders who received The Order of the Rising Sun: Gold and Silver Star. A similar award was given to the Minister of State for Research and Technology of Indonesia, the era of the Development Reform Cabinet (1998-1999). Dr. Ir. Zuhal, MSc, EE (late) and former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Indonesia to Japan and UN, Drs Wisber Loeis.

For Azra herself, this award is one of the many awards he gets. In 2010, he was given the honorary title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) of Queen Elizabeth II of England. This honors degree is awarded for his great contribution in fostering the interfaith understanding.

Rector of UIN Jakarta Prof. Dr. Dede Rosyada MA congratulates Azra. According to Dede, Azra is the intellectual figure of UIN Jakarta that deserves high appreciation for his work in the field of science and society. “Hopefully this can motivate the lecturers in UIN Jakarta to become better, both in the fields of science and community service,” said Dede. (usa/various sources)

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