About Farinia Fianto
How does one go about empowering and building diverse religious communities while respecting people’s differences? Farinia Fianto is in an ideal position to answer such questions. As the Managing Director of the International Centre for Islam and Pluralism (ICIP), Farinia spends her days planning, developing, implementing and evaluating ICIP’s Islamic school-based programs related to the promotion of human rights, democracy and pluralism. Since joining ICIP in 2003, Farinia has also actively promoted ideas around Islam, pluralism and interfaith dialogue through a range of different media.
Thirteen years after her AIMEP visit, Farinia remains actively involved in the alumni community, and in 2017 was selected by her fellow AIMEP alumni to represent them as Secretary of the Indonesian AIMEP Alumni Forum.
AIMEP highlights and achievements
Leaving for Australia for the 2005 edition of AIMEP, Farinia felt a mixture of joy and fear.
Australia-Indonesia relations were at a low point after the recent Bali bomb, where the majority of victims had been Australian.
“To be honest, I felt more worried than happy, because I’d heard through the media that the Indonesian community, especially Muslims, had been treated badly [in Australia] after the Bali bomb,” she explained.
“When I arrived in Melbourne, however, my feelings were not proven right. The truth was that despite the Bali bomb, Australians were still enthusiastically coming together to help victims of the Aceh Tsunami. The differences [between Australians and Indonesians] wasn’t something that proved a barrier to helping Aceh tsunami victims in Indonesia… I instantly realised that our visit was going to be an amazing experience.”
Beyond the program itself, AIMEP has helped Farinia broaden the scope of her work, such as interfaith dialogue with the Australian Jewish community. In 2016 she also worked closely with Australian AIMEP alumna, Assmaah Helal, to facilitate soccer and wellbeing workshops for young female Islamic boarding school students from around Makassar, South Sulawesi.
Farinia believes that AIMEP plays a crucial role as a diplomatic bridge, bringing together the people of our two nations.