Strengthening Tolerance and Pluralism among Youth

Speeches Shim

Intolerance and extremism threaten democracy and undermine development. Youth, who represent one quarter of Indonesia’s 270 million people, are particularly vulnerable to hate speech and radical messages. In response, the United States partners with civil society to promote tolerance and pluralism, especially among young people.

The health of Indonesian democracy is threatened by rising intolerance, including growing religious exclusivism and rising inequality for minorities, especially in the education system. For instance, recent studies have shown that nearly half of all high school and university students are reluctant to socialize with people of different backgrounds.

USAID Creative Youth for Tolerance (CREATE)

USAID CREATE provides young people with positive outlets for self-expression while promoting interfaith and interethnic understanding among students, teachers, parents, and government stakeholders. Through arts and culture, the project promotes tolerance and pluralism among students, enhancing the ability and willingness of young Indonesians to constructively manage differences and counter intolerant messages.

In their formative years, young people navigate, assess, and internalize information about values, morals, and ethics. This process forms the foundation of their adult identities. Among the range of messages that youth receive, particularly on social and digital media, are those promoting hate and intolerance.

Implemented by Stitching Hivos in partnership with local organizations, USAID CREATE works in 24 high schools in West Java, East Java, and South Sulawesi provinces, where research has identified high rates of violations against religious freedom (including discriminatory regulations against minority groups). The project strengthens the ability of artists to develop interactive, collaborative models that engage students in creative expression; improves student understanding of democracy and human rights; enhances teachers’ ability to incorporate values of tolerance and pluralism in their classrooms; and engages parents, teachers, and principals to promote school policies on tolerance and pluralism.


To date, 21 schools have committed to joining USAID CREATE, and the program has trained 35 art facilitators and 300 teachers and parents to promote tolerance in schools. Nearly 350 high school students received training and mentoring prior to participating in art competitions and virtual exhibitions that showcased their artwork (podcasts, painting, videos, and more) around the themes of tolerance and diversity to peers and teachers.

By 2023, USAID CREATE will have cultivated a cadre of graduating students who will serve as examples of tolerance for their peers and communities; a network of teachers and parents empowered to monitor and address incidents of intolerance; and a proven approach to promoting pluralism for integration and replication into government initiatives.


Yahya Luping, USAID at
Mohamad Miqdad, Yayasan Humanis dan Inovasi Sosial, Stichting Hivos (HIVOS) at

Last updated: August 20, 2021

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