New Ties for Thomas Jefferson School of Law
May 20, 2016 (PRLEAP.COM) Education NewsSAN DIEGO, CA, 5/20/16 - Last month, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Professor William Slomanson returned from a two week visit to the Islamic University of Indonesia (Yogyakarta) and Atma Jaya Catholic University (Jakarta).
Yogyakarta is Indonesia's University City. It hosts more than 100 colleges and universities. Slomanson presented a short course entitled US Perspectives on International Law in Yogyakarta. He also lectured on the Crimean Secession in International Law at both universities. He considers the Crimean secession a particularly perilous example of the half-dozen oblasts which unilaterally declared independence since the Soviet Union's demise.
The professor's initial reactions to his first Indonesian trip include: "I was most impressed by the gracious hand over heart gesture that many people tendered-at both universities, and in the streets of both cities. I've not seen such a robust welcome to strangers in other cultures I've visited." Indonesia's population is 280 million. 75% are Muslim, making it the most Muslim-populated country in the world.
As Professor Slomanson expressed, "this trip reconfirmed that too many westerners fail to appreciate that the September 11th hijackers also hijacked a religion. I've lived in a Muslim society (Kosovo), was Best Man in a Muslim wedding, and have recently experienced a slice of Indonesian life. During these years, I've observed the oceanic separation between fundamentalist extremists like the Taliban, and moderate Muslims in nations like Kosovo, Indonesia, and the United States."
Slomanson asked the Islamic University of Indonesia (IUI)-the oldest private university in the country-to help him explore the above distinction between what he describes as "some rotten apples and the rest of a 1.8 billion-person barrel." IUI thus arranged his visit to one of Indonesia's 10,000 Islamic high schools, which had been visited by the US Ambassador to Indonesia. Slomanson notes that "Indonesia's religious-based schools are nothing like the Taliban's extremist madrassas in other countries. Indonesia's 'Pandanarans' educate mostly middle class youths in religion, not unlike the educational experience provided by the Saint Augustine's and Our Lady of Peace High Schools my sons and daughters attended."
Slomanson also met with IUI's leading Islamic scholar. This ninety minute event yielded the ideal opportunity to ask many of the questions Americans have regarding Islam. The talking points included whether non-Muslims are less likely to enter heaven; if women are equal with men; and differences between Sharia and Islamic law. The professor also attended a Call to Prayers at IUI's on-campus mosque.
When Professor Slomanson was in Jakarta, the Organization of Islamic Conference was meeting in Istanbul. According to the Jakarta Post newspaper account, its leaders "called for efforts to battle terrorism, sectarianism and Islamophobia…. In his speech…the [OIC's Indonesian] Vice President also criticized the organization for not…preventing conflicts as well as failing to stop wars in the Muslim world."
Professor Slomanson left both universities with a strong sense of evolving ties between Thomas Jefferson School of Law and this distant part of the world, now bridged by new friendships. He presented copies of his Fundamental Perspectives on International Law textbook to administrators and libraries at both schools. Their representatives, in turn, presented him with the university icon given to visiting personages, at departing events with their faculties.
The Islamic University of Indonesia wishes to pursue further ties with Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a subject which Professor Slomanson is now exploring. His reaction to that proposal is that an Islamic connection with Thomas Jefferson School of Law "would augment the richness of our diversity-based law school culture, while helping to ameliorate the incendiary rhetoric that's fire-branded this presidential election season."
Thomas Jefferson School of Law offers a comprehensive legal education to a nationally-based, diverse student body. The non-profit law school is consistently ranked as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation, with 52 percent of its most recent class being students of color. Located in Downtown San Diego, Thomas Jefferson Law has evolved into an innovative, cutting-edge law school, devoted to the individual needs and success of its students. More information is available at www.tjsl.edu.
CONTACT: Thomas Jefferson School of Law Director of Marketing and Communications Edgar Hopida, 619-961-4314 or 619-913-0719, firstname.lastname@example.org