MEI Director’s Workshop – Saudi Arabia and Indonesian Networks: Migration, Education and Islam


MEI Director’s Workshop – Saudi Arabia and Indonesian Networks: Migration, Education and Islam


MEI Director’s Workshop – Saudi Arabia and Indonesian Networks: Migration, Education and Islam

(This is a by-invitation-only event open to scholars, practitioners and students in the relevant field.)


This seminar discusses my forthcoming book, entitled Saudi Arabia and Indonesian Networks: Migration, Education and Islam, which will be published by I.B. Tauris in association with National University of Singapore’s Muhammad Alagil Arabia-Asia Studies. This proposed book studies the links between Islam, migration and education, through the lens of Indonesian Muslims who studied (or studying) or taught (or teaching) in Saudi Arabia. It discusses the origins, history, and contemporary development of Saudi Arabia–Indonesian contact, and analyzes factors that contributed to the shifting nature of their relations. More specifically, this work examines Indonesian Muslim educational travelers and intellectual migrants (e.g. students, teachers, researchers, and scholars of both Islamic and secular sciences) in Saudi Arabia, highlighting their motives, and purposes of their study, teaching, or search of knowledge and sciences (both religious and secular sciences), activities during their study or teaching at madrasah, schools, and universities, as well as intellectual and institutional networks.

Not only examining activities of these educational travelers during their stay or live in Saudi, the book also investigates their roles, impacts, activities, influences, and contributions in Indonesia in shaping the country’s Islamic knowledge, discourses, and understandings. It is imperative to note that, historically, the role of Saudi alumni (in addition to Egyptian graduates) has been influential in the shape and development of Indonesia’s Muslim politics and cultures, including in education and activism, and their vital role is continued until nowadays. Examining the shifting dynamics and transformation of the idea of Islamic education, politics, and cultures through the lens of those students’ and alumni’s thoughts and activities is essential since they have served as one of important carriers, transformers, and transmitters of knowledge, notions, and cultures in the society.

The Table of Contents, Introduction and Chapter 1 of the book can be accessed HERE which I welcome your inputs and comments on at the discussion.

Event Details

Assist Prof Sumanto Al Qurtuby Visiting Senior Fellow, NUS Middle East Institute and Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (Saudi Arabia)

MEI Seminar Room, Level 7 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace Block B #06-06 Singapore 119620

About the Speaker

Sumanto Al Qurtuby, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Middle East Institute of National University of Singapore, teaches Cultural Anthropology at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where he chairs a research committee in social sciences. Prior to joining KFUPM, he was a visiting professor and a research fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the United States. Sumanto has been awarded research grants and fellowships from numerous foundations and academic institutions, including Earhart Foundation, National Science Foundation, University of Oxford, and Kyoto University.

He has degrees in anthropology, sociology, conflict transformation, and Islamic studies. He holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University and an MA in Conflict and Peace Studies from Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, among others. His research interests focus on the study of Muslim politics and cultures; conflict, violence, and peacebuilding; inter-and intra-religious relations, the role of religion in public sphere, and Arab–Southeast Asian/Indonesian connection.

A columnist and a freelancer of several media outlets in Indonesia and abroad, he has authored, co-authored, and written more than 18 books, dozens of academic articles, and hundreds of popular essays (in Indonesian language and English). His academic articles appeared in various scholarly journals including International Journal of Asian Studies, Asian Journal of Social Science, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Peace Research, International Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, The India Quarterly, Southeast Asian Studies, International Journal on World Peace, Islamic Studies, among others. His most recent book from Routledge (London & New York) is Religious Violence and Conciliation in Indonesia: Christians and Muslims in the Moluccas.