President Soeharto of Indonesia inaugurated the 12th international seminar of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture entitled "Contemporary Expressions of Islam in Building" at the State Palace in Jakarta on Monday 15th October 1990. The Seminar was attended by Indonesia's Minister of Religious Affairs, His Excellency Munawar Sjadzaly whose ministry hosted it.
Speaking to government ministers, members of the Diplomatic Corps leading Indonesian citizens and participants from some 22 different countries, President Soeharto expressed deep appreciation for Mawlana Hazar Imam's initiative and efforts to promote and enhance Islamic cultural through architecture. President Soeharto said that Islam encompasses both a religion and a civilization and does not flourish in an environment where there is a cultural vacuum. "Consequently, the evolution of the thinking and civilization of Muslims", he emphasised, "are clearly associated with the environment, history and culture".
President Soeharto further emphasised that that was why in places like Indonesia the mosque, for example does not only function as a pace of worship, but it also serves as a centre for congregations and a place where the education, social services, womens' and youth activities are conducted.
Participants in the Seminar recognized the special place of Indonesia, through its harmonious interfacing of Islam with pre-existing traditions and cultures and tolerance which this has engendered. It was felt that the guiding ethos behind the Aga Khan Award for Architecture - "Design in the spirit of Islam" - enables it to respond to the social, material and practical needs of Muslim societies and that the Award should continue its search in the context of the "space of freedom" that it has created. It was emphasised that since Islam is not divorced from the surroundings in which Muslims live, Muslims have to create an architectural, visual and environmental context which is conducive to the practice of their faith. In this respect, the architectural experience should be shared not only among those living in the Islamic world, but with those beyond it.
The Indonesian Seminar, which was organized in collaboration with the Indonesian Association of Architects, was the 12th in the series of international seminars. It is the first time that a Seminar was held in particular country for the second time. The next Award Ceremony is due to be held in 1992 when Award winners will receive this most
coveted architectural prize in the world. Earlier ceremonies were held in Lahore (1980), Istanbul (1983), Marrakeeh (1986) and Cairo (1989).
Source: U.K. Ismaili
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