Episode 8: Conflict and Muslim-Christian relations in Papua, with Umar Werfete

Umar WerfeteFor this episode, Kate spoke with Umar Werfete. Umar is a lecturer and a head of research at the State Islamic University of Jayapura in Papua, Indonesia.

He also researches religious issues in Papua in his position within the Division for Research and Development, Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) Papua and is responsible for peace education initiatives and interfaith dialogue in his position within the Division of Peace Education and Interfaith Relations, Council of Papuan Muslims.

We discuss key issues in interfaith relations in Papua today, and how civil society groups work to promote peace between faith communities in Papua when the potential for clashes between Muslim and Christian communities remains high.

We also discuss how developments outside Papua affect interfaith relations, including the ways in which Muslim-Christian relations in Muslim-majority Java affect interfaith relations in the province, as well as the kinds of programs and initiatives that have proven most successful for Umar and his colleagues in reducing conflict among cultural and faith groups in Papua.

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Episode 7: Social media and the Australian Army, with Mick Cook

mick cook picFor this episode, Andrew interviewed Major Mick Cook from the Australian Army.

In recent years the Army has withdrawn from deployments in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands (but been sent back to Iraq). Its soldiers are having to learn lessons from past conflicts and prepare for whatever future conflicts they may end up in.

But unlike earlier generations, today’s soldiers live and learn in an increasingly digital environment, where social media plays a large role in people’s lives.

Major Mick Cook, who currently serves as the Australian Army’s social media and online engagement manager, has lots to say on this. We discussed:

  • Outreach efforts, such as the official Facebook pages and Twitter accounts run by various Army units, and actions to inform the public about training exercises like the recent Exercise Hamel.
  • Soldiers’ personal use of social media, and initiatives to use various types of online media for intellectual discussion and professional development.
  • How the tactical responsibilities of junior commanders have changed since the World Wars.
  • How some officers are using online outlets such as podcasts, web-based journals and social media to to discuss military theory and practical lessons with other officers and military thinkers, both across Australia and overseas.
  • The need for innovation and entrepreneurship within the Australian Army, and some of the dilemmas involved.
  • Mick’s own military careers, his online projects, and reading interests.

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