Of The Principal of Pesantren Darunnajah, Dr. Sofwan Manaf
On The Courtesy Call of Mr. Tony Blinken
The United States Deputy Secretary of State
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
- KH Mahrus Amin, The founder of Darunnajah
- Antony J Blinken, The United States Deputy Secretary of State
- Robert Blake Jr., United States Ambassador to Indonesia
- Scot Marciel, former United States Ambassador to Indonesia
And the distinguished guests…
Assalamualaikum Wr wb
We would like to convey our gratitude to Mr. Tony Blinken, The United States Deputy Secretary of State, on the visit to Pesantren Darunnajah.
It is grateful to have such priceless opportunity to meet high-profile persons from a high-profile country like United States in our humble school.
It is precious opportunity to have a dialogue since The United States is the biggest democratic country in the World. As a democratic country with the biggest moslem population in the world, Indonesia need to learn from US and vice versa.
One of the core issues today is education.
Pesantren, as you might hear is sitting in a very core of Indonesian traditional education system that has been existed since nearly 400 years ago. Pesantren is originated and growth in this country.
As far as I remember, the first Pesantren that established was Tegal sari In Ponorogo that established in 1600-es and now has been transformed into Gontor that still existing until today. Their education systems are still used by many pesantrens in Indonesia including Darunnajah.
It is an indigenous Islamic educational Institution and mostly is run privately with only little interventions from the Government. Darunnajah is one among around 28,000 pesantrens that now exist in Indonesia.
In this institution, we not only teach the students the way how to study in the classroom, but also the way how to live together in a global community.
The program that existed not only shapes their academic, but most importantly, strengthens their characters and values of life, the characters and the values that brought and delivered by our Prophet Muhammad SAW.
By living in dormitories 24 hours, we implement the core values into every program of education in order to prepare the student to be a good citizen of a global community by building their independency, their simplicity and brotherhood and live peacefully to build brotherhood among Moslem, inter-religion and race.
To create such sense of global citizenship, Darunnajah also establish some network and relationship with some education institution in other countries, such as ; Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United States, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Japan and some European Countries and Asia.
The relations are about; school-link program, teacher exchange, students exchange, short course to build and encouragement the human recourses, and since 2006, Darunnajah also has strong relationship with one of Catholic School in England, as a follow up to when the former British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair visited Darunnajah in March 2006.
So hopefully, by the visit of Mr. Tony Blinken, could be followed up with build the mutual understanding and strong relationship in the educational field between Indonesia and United States in educational field in general, and also between Darunnajah and perhaps other institutional education in The United States.
With this visit as well, I personally hope that Mr Tony Blinken could spread and inform the decision makers in United States the facts of Indonesian moslem education. I hope Mr Tony Blinken also could carry peaceful values that brought by pesantrens that delivered to the young generation of Muslim in Indonsia is far from the terrifying terrorist contents that incorrectly exposed by some western media.
To close this speech, I would like to deliver what Nelson Mandela said;
“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.”