IPB university with the National Board Zakat (BAZNAS) are collaborating to hold an intellectual forum in the form of a short course entitled Islamic Economics Winter Course 2020. Unlike the previous Islamic Economics Winter Course, this year's event took place via online media which was held for seven days, starting from Monday (14/9) to Wednesday (23/9).

With the theme "Islamic Social Finance and Its Role for Achieving SDGs", this forum invites well known speakers with high qualifications in the field of Islamic Social Finance. There are 78 participants of the Islamic Economics Winter Course having various backgrounds such as practitioners, researchers and academics. Furthermore, more than a third of the participants came from abroad such as India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malaysia, Algeria, Morocco, Singapore, Nigeria, Sri Lanka to Germany.

Director of the PUSKAS BAZNAS, Dr. Muhammad Hasbi Zaenal said that by having participants with various backgrounds, this forum can become a new and unique network that can enrich the experience of each participant.

"I express my gratitude to IPB for the cooperation that has been established by collaborating with BAZNAS in this international forum. Islamic Social Finance has tremendous potential to achieve and even the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals. This can be seen from the various types of programs carried out by Islamic Social Finance such as Zakat, Waqf, and microfinance, which intersect with SDGs' values. For example, no poverty, quality education, clean water and sanitation and many others,” said Hasbi.

Hasbi added that from this forum, it is hoped that new perspectives and studies will be discussed further. Moreover,  it is expected that there will be also a fresh strategy that is not only relevant to the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also become a platform for new optimism to spur the potential of Islamic Social Finance in its efforts to fulfill the SDGs.

The Islamic Economics Winter Course 2020 Forum is divided into four main discussions. The first discussion has the theme of Islamic economic philosophy and the introduction of Islamic Social Finance as one of the main instruments of Islamic economics. This first theme was carried out on the second day and was delivered by Prof. Mehmet Asutay (Durham University) and Dr. Aishath Muneeza (INCEIF). The second discussion had a theme related to zakat and took place on the third and fourth days by Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Omar (IIUM), Dr. Irfan Syauqi Beik (BAZNAS), Prof. Abdul Ghafar (USIM) and Yasmina Francke (South African Zakat Institute).

The third discussion had the theme of waqf and was delivered by Prof. Raditya Sukmana (UNAIR) and Dr. Hendri Tanjung (BWI) on the fifth day. Then, the fourth theme on the sixth day was microfinance by Dr. Mohammed Obaidullah (IsDB) and Prof. Habib Ahmed (Durham University).

On the closing day, the participants will be able to discuss and see directly the impact of Islamic Social Finance from BAZNAS empowering projects in villages, namely Batik and Tegalwaru villages.

Facing COVID-19, the gap to fulfill the aspirations of the SDGs is getting bigger. This outbreak has a severe impact on causing health crises and also increasing numbers of unemployment and poverty. On one hand, the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has reached more than 200,000 and many hospitals can no longer accommodate the increasing number.

On the other hand, in the second quarter of 2020, Indonesia's GDP fell drastically to minus 5.23% and therefore the economy is at risk of falling into recession.

“Facing this pandemic, the role of Islamic Social Finance is increasingly crucial in assisting the vulnerable communities,” said Hasbi.


Rep: Puskas BAZNAS