Makassar, – Vice President Jusuf Kalla received a Honoris Causa Doctorate Degree in religious sociology from Alauddin Islamic University of Makassar on Thursday (Jan. 25/1). By this, the Vice President has overall received ten honorary doctorate titles from various universities at home and abroad.

In his inaugural address entitled “Peace Studies: Perspective of Religion, Economics, and Politics” the Vice President said that perpetrators of violence in the name of religion are not people or groups known as devout religious observers and even many of them do not understand religion properly.

“Religion, or certain teachings of a religion, has been misinterpreted and abused. Abuse of religion is often associated with political or economic interests,” said the Vice President.

According to him, it is the economic injustice and inequality that often becomes the main cause of conflict. Therefore, he added, equitable and balanced economic development is essential in creating peace and harmony.

“Peace and harmony will face serious challenges if there are still many unemployed and poor people who are unable to meet their daily basic needs,” said the Vice President.

Besides, he continued, the dynamics of politics also have the potential to trigger conflict, especially if there is no fair share of power.

“If a political process results in a ‘winner-takes-it-all’, there will surely be conflicts and violence that can arise sporadically, even if they are triggered by trivial things,” he explained.

To that end, the Vice President who in 2011 was crowned as the “World Peace Leader” by the World Assembly Youth advised that a winner in a political contestation should adopt a political inclusion stance that brings the losing parties in power.

Additionally, he said, in a political process to win the election and the power, each elite and political party should not use the issues or themes that have the potential to divide the people, such as SARA (ethnic, religious, racial, and inter-group) issues.

The Vice President further said, the effort to create peace is an art that requires perseverance, persistence, and expertise. According to his experience in various efforts to create peace, the following must be done by a peace mediator to craft peace: to understand conflicting parties, to strengthen moral courage, to build mutual trust, to unite conflicting parties, to limit the exposure of information to the public, and to maintain the dignity of each warring party.

Closing his inauguration speech, the Vice President called on all parties to continue working to maintain peace. “The creation of peace is not an easy task, so we need to strengthen our commitment to and harmony so that we can have a more peaceful and better world,” he concluded. (AKS/FM, KIP Setwapres)