On June 14-15, the Faculty of Social Sciences at Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia hosted the second Symposium on Muslim Politics and World Society. Under the theme “Beyond the Great Powers: Multi-world Order, Trans-oceanic Sovereignty, and Hegemonic Civilization,” the symposium brought together renowned scholars and experts to explore new perspectives in international relations.

There are 2 keynote panel sessions. The first session features Dr. Ayse Zarakol, a professor of International Relations from the University of Cambridge, UK; Dr. Farish A. Noor, a professor of History from Friedrich-Alexander University, Germany. Meanwhile, the second session includes Rizal Sukma, a senior fellow of CSIS and former Indonesian Ambassador to the UK; and Dr. Kuik Cheng-Chwee, a professor of International Relations at the National University of Malaysia.

The first panel session featured Dr. Ayse Zarakol, who underscored the importance of incorporating historical perspectives into contemporary international relations discourse. She advocated for a departure from Eurocentrism and urged scholars to examine the role of the Mongol Empire in shaping the historical landscape of Asia. Dr. Farish A. Noor, in his contribution to the panel, critically addressed the issue of presentism and the Western-centric nature of the international relations discipline. He emphasized the significance of comprehending the implications of regional identity within Southeast Asia, particularly in the context of globalization.

During the second panel session, Dr. Rizal Sukma examined the pertinence of the maritime domain in Indonesia’s governmental rhetoric, introducing the concept of the global Maritime fulcrum as a strategic framework. The discussion also delved into the evolving relationship between Indonesia and China, highlighting both collaborative endeavors and concerns surrounding potential overreliance. Strategic autonomy for Southeast Asian states was deemed crucial in navigating the complex dynamics of great power competition. Professor Kuik complemented the discourse by exploring key terms such as hedging, band-wagoning, and identity, emphasizing their significance in comprehending state behavior. The panel also addressed the challenges of coordination within international organizations, rationalist explanations of war, the vital role of collaboration between academia, policy-making, and scholarship, and the need to consider a broader spectrum of factors beyond the dominant US-China relationship in promoting peace and stability.

Aside from the insightful panel sessions, the symposium included six specific panel discussions that delved into various facets of international relations. These encompassed a wide range of topics including hegemonic civilization and theories, racial diplomacy, imperialism and epistemology, non-state actors and the international political economy, women, gender, and geopolitics, as well as power relations in maritime Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. These diverse panels provided opportunities for rigorous academic discourse, showcasing the extensive scope and profound research being conducted in the field of international relations.