Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Yaya Winarno Junardy | President-Commissioner, PT Rajawali Corpora, Indonesia

Case Study Outline

  1. → Y.W. Junardy Video (above)
  2. → Learning Objectives
  3. → Main Category of Action
  4. → Y.W. Junardy’s Story
  5. → Summary of Case
  6. → Interview with Y.W. Junardy
  7. → Introduction to Indonesia
  8.      – Demographics and Economy
  9.      – Religious Demographics
  10.      – Conflict and Violence related to Religion
  11. → More About Y.W. Junardy’s Work
  12. → Discussion Questions
  13. → Media and Added Resources

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Learning Objectives

Y.W. Junardy, uses his business acumen to solve social problems, specifically facilitating thousands of marriages for poor Indonesians of all faiths, providing their families with the legal status necessary to advance in Indonesian society. Junardy takes an action rather than just dialogue approach to addressing the underlying causes of social tensions.

The learning objectives for this case study include:

  1. 1. Experience working with people from diverse backgrounds stimulates philanthropy.
  2. 2. Businesses can sometimes solve problems governments can’t or won’t.
  3. 3. Collaborating with organizations like the UN Global Compact can help magnify and expand local business initiatives.
  4. 4. Working across sectors- business, civil and governmental – is needed to solve many problems.


Partnership and collective action

Joining forces with Governments, UN entities, civil society organizations and/or other businesses to act collectively to promote interfaith understanding and peace and forge long-term partnerships for local or regional economic and sustainable development.

Junardy’s Story

Yaya Winarno Junardy likes to tell the story about how he was just a boy from a small village in East Java, Indonesia, when he arrived in Jakarta in the 1960s. Pretty soon, he had four jobs — as a street cigarette seller, a high school biology teacher, a university student and a casino worker. He worked seven days a week.

The experience taught a lesson he still applies in his business and philanthropy today.

“I found myself in four different environments with four different kinds of customers in four different subjects,” he told a group of National University of Singapore students in 2012. “It taught me how, as an individual, to adapt to different situations. I learned that in my life and in my work I have to adapt.”

Adapt he did, taking on a fifth job — an operator for IBM — before he had the university degree the company required. He spent 25 years with IBM in a variety of executive positions in cities around the world. He has also held high posts with Bank Universal, ExcelCom and several other Asia-based telecommunications corporations. He is one of the most prominent businessmen in Jakarta.

Junardy learned how to adapt to people of different faiths and cultures from his grandfather, an ethnic Chinese who ran the family’s copra business among Muslim, Christian and Buddhist customers and contractors. He has said he believes this early exposure to people of different faiths and cultures taught him to relate to and respect others.

Today, as president commissioner of Rajawali Corp., he has more time to pursue what he calls his “second chapter” — improving conditions for the working and lower-income classes of Indonesia. His purpose now is “to give back to society by teaching young people, working with the underprivileged, and giving joy to others,” he told the publication HQAsia in 2012.

That ability to adapt has served Junardy, who is 69, well in his philanthropic endeavors.  He is president of the Indonesia Global Compact Network — part of the United Nations Global Compact that encourages businesses to commit to universally accepted principles in human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption values.

Since 2011, Junardy has led a consortium of Indonesian businesses in hosting mass weddings for low-income Indonesian couples of multiple faiths who cannot afford the fees — 60,000 Indonesian Rupiahs or about five U.S. dollars — required for a legal marriage.

Without an officially recognized marriage, Indonesian couples cannot obtain identity cards, access health care or obtain birth certificates for their children. Junardy estimates 36 percent of Indonesian households lack these documents, stigmatizing their children — and affecting their education, health and, ultimately, their jobs.

For Junardy, providing poor children with legal status is a fulfillment of their basic human rights. “They are like nobodies in their own country,” he said earlier this year in a speech at the Gobal Child Forum. “They are left behind.”

In 2012, as he was preparing to spend more time on philanthropy, Junardy offered advice for would-be Indonesian business leaders “Take advantage of opportunities and learn from experiences,” he told HQAsia. “You learn best in times of adversity. Get exposed to cross-cultural experiences early in life and learn to relate to others who are different from you. Most importantly, always try to understand the context of the problem before jumping to solutions.”

Summary of Case

Indonesia is a religiously diverse country where cultural tensions are all-too-often exacerbated by local poverty. At the root of this dilemma is the problem that many parents can’t afford the cost of marriage licenses leaving their children without legal status, hindering their opportunities for education, future employment, and even healthcare.

Y. W. Junardy, President-Commissioner of PT Rajawali Corporation, has used his business know-how to address the problem.

Collaborating with business, government and religions institutions, he facilitates mass weddings, which are presided over by ministers of each faith. Through his efforts, thousands of couples and their children have gained immediate legal status and a renewed hope for the future.

Interview with Y.W. Junardy

The following interview by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation was done during the inaugural Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards, which were held in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, Sept. 6, a day before the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games.

The awards recognize business leaders – current or past CEOs – who have demonstrated leadership in championing interfaith understanding and peace. The Awards are a partnership initiative of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF), and the United Nations Global Compact Business for Peace (B4P) platform, with collaboration from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. The next awards will be given in Seoul, Korea, ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics.

Note: Interview begins at 0:22 marker.

Part 2:

Introduction to Indonesia

Demographics and Economy*

The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; Japan occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence shortly before Japan’s surrender, but it required four years of sometimes brutal fighting, intermittent negotiations, and UN mediation before the Netherlands agreed to transfer sovereignty in 1949. A period of sometimes unruly parliamentary democracy ended in 1957 when President SOEKARNO declared martial law and instituted “Guided Democracy.”

After an abortive coup in 1965 by alleged communist sympathizers, SOEKARNO was gradually eased from power. From 1967 until 1988, President SUHARTO ruled Indonesia with his “New Order” government. After rioting toppled SUHARTO in 1998, free and fair legislative elections took place in 1999. Indonesia is now the world’s third most populous democracy, the world’s largest archipelagic state, and the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

Current issues include: alleviating poverty, improving education, preventing terrorism, consolidating democracy after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing economic and financial reforms, stemming corruption, reforming the criminal justice system, holding the military and police accountable for human rights violations, addressing climate change, and controlling infectious diseases, particularly those of global and regional importance.

In 2005, Indonesia reached a historic peace agreement with armed separatists in Aceh, which led to democratic elections in Aceh in December 2006. Indonesia continues to face low intensity armed resistance in Papua by the separatist Free Papua Movement.

Indonesia is made up of many different ethnic groups comprised of: Javanese 40.1%, Sundanese 15.5%, Malay 3.7%, Batak 3.6%, Madurese 3%, Betawi 2.9%, Minangkabau 2.7%, Buginese 2.7%, Bantenese 2%, Banjarese 1.7%, Balinese 1.7%, Acehnese 1.4%, Dayak 1.4%, Sasak 1.3%, Chinese 1.2%, other 15% (2010 est.)

Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, has seen a slowdown in growth since 2012, mostly due to the end of the commodities export boom. During the global financial crisis, Indonesia outperformed its regional neighbors and joined China and India as the only G20 members posting growth. Indonesia’s annual budget deficit is capped at 3% of GDP, and the Government of Indonesia lowered its debt-to-GDP ratio from a peak of 100% shortly after the Asian financial crisis in 1999 to less than 25% today. Fitch and Moody’s upgraded Indonesia’s credit rating to investment grade in December 2011.

Indonesia still struggles with poverty and unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, a complex regulatory environment, and unequal resource distribution among its regions. President Joko WIDODO – elected in July 2014 – seeks to develop Indonesia’s maritime resources and pursue other infrastructure development, including significantly increasing its electrical power generation capacity. Fuel subsidies were significantly reduced in early 2015, a move which has helped the government redirect its spending to development priorities. Indonesia, with the nine other ASEAN members, will continue to move towards participation in the ASEAN Economic Community, though full implementation of economic integration has not yet materialized.

* CIA Factbook

Religious Demographics

According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 87% of Indonesia’s citizens identify as Muslim, while 10% identify as Christian. Hindus represent 1.7% of the countries population, with Buddhists, fold religions and Jews each respectively representing less than 1%.

According to Pew estimates, out of a population of 239,870,000 in 2010, 209,120,000 identified as Muslim, with an expected growth to 245,020,000 in 2030. The Christian population was set at 23,660,000 in 2010, and projected to grow to 29,620,000 in 2030. Hindus represent 4,050,000 of the population with a projected growth to 4,300,000 in 2030. Christians have the highest fertility rate (TFR) at 2.6, with Muslims at 2, and Hindus at 1.6. The median age for all religious faiths is 28, where Muslims fall. Folk religions have the highest median at 37, while Christians and the unaffiliated have the lowest at 26.

Conflict and Violence Related to Religion

Indonesia Investments reports: “Rising religious tensions not only rise in Indonesia due to the blasphemy trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) but also due to a recently issued edict by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Indonesia’s highest Islamic clerical body.

This edict prohibits Muslims to wear Christmas clothes and accessories and primarily aims at those Muslims who work in shopping malls where many restaurant and shop owners make their staff dress up in “Christmas-spirit”. Several shopping malls in Surabaya (East Java) were raided on Sunday (18/12) by Islamic hardliners, such as the hardline Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), seeking shops and offices that make their Muslim staff wear Christmas attire.

The MUI responded to these acts by saying its edict should not be used as a justification for raiding. Reportedly, various local police stations in Indonesia issued circulars upholding the MUI’s edict. However, they were later reprimanded by the National Police, which stated that the edict of the MUI cannot be enforced as a law. National Police also stated that it is an illegal act for mass organizations to conduct sweepings across shopping malls.”

The US State Department notes: “The constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the right to worship according to one’s own beliefs, but states that citizens must accept restrictions established by law to protect the rights of others and to satisfy “just demands based upon considerations of morality, religious values, security and public order in a democratic society.” The law restricts citizens from exercising these rights in a way that impinges on the rights of others, or jeopardizes security or public order.

There were arrests and convictions for blasphemy and insulting religion. The government did not resolve longstanding religious disputes. There were instances where local governments and police gave in to the demands of groups labeled locally as “intolerant groups” to close houses of worship for permit violations, or otherwise restrict the rights of minority religious groups. The government at both the national and local levels at times reportedly failed to prevent or appropriately address intimidation and discrimination against individuals based on their religious belief.

Both the central government and local governments featured elected and appointed officials from minority religious groups, and elected politicians from religious minorities served in majority Muslim districts. Certain local governments imposed local laws and regulations that restricted the religious freedom of minority and majority religious groups.

Much of civil society, including religious organizations from all faiths, worked to counter intolerant messages and ideologies and promote tolerance of minority religious groups and pluralism. Intolerant religious groups, however, illegally closed houses of worship and widely disseminated materials promoting intolerance.”

As shown in the Pew Research chart below, the global median score for social hostilities involving religion is 2.4 on a 10-point scale, where 10 is high. Indonesia’s rating is 7.8, meaning it has very high social hostilities involving religion. The global median score for governmental restrictions on religious freedom is 3.1. Indonesia has very high governmental restrictions on religious freedom with a score of 8.5.

More About Y.W. Junardy’s Work

Business problem – numerous of Junardy’s employees’ children do not have legal documentation preventing them from accessing important government health and education services, which adversely impacts employee morale, and performance.

PT Rajawali Corpora – the company is faced with the complicated history of religious freedom in Indonesia, and the faith practices of its employees. The backdrop is the riots of 1998.

Mr. Y.W. Junardy is a national and international leader in actions, advocacy, and partnerships that help business leaders support interfaith understanding and peace. He active in the UN Global Compact and its Business for Peace platform at the international level and in Indonesia. For instance, co-publisher of a set of foundational case studies that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon helped launch, called Business: A Powerful Force Supporting Interfaith Understanding and Peace.

He actively promotes the role of business in promoting interfaith understanding and peace, including speaking at major conferences in Istanbul, New York and Washington, DC. In his own company he pursues policies and practices that create a diverse and inclusive workplace. In his nation, he uses his influence and resources to overcome dire social problems that, if unaddressed, would result in a cycle of poverty and potential violence. He did this by working to overcome the dire problem of an estimated 42 million children having birth certificates because of their parents not being married due to wedding and dowery costs and government bureaucracy.

Junardy also has facilitated other interfaith initiatives, including Muslim-Christian soccer clubs for underprivileged youth. Junardy is the President Commissioner of PT Rajawali Corpora, an Indonesian national holding investment company operating in diverse industries, i.e., hotel & property, transportation, agriculture, mining, infrastructure and IT Services.

 Y.W. Junardy directly leads the involvement of PT Rajawali Corpora and its business units in Global Compact (GC) Network Indonesia’s activities. He also initiated the company to pledge for support the Business for Peace (B4P) initiatives. One of the biggest initiatives that he led is the Interfaith Mass Wedding and Birth Certificate Program. This project is a collaborative undertaking by the Global Compact in collaboration with House of Love Foundation (member of GC) as the project’s champion, and with the support of provincial government, companies, NGOs and universities. It aims to help poor families to obtain their legal identity so that they can access education, health, formal employment, micro-credits and other public services.

Junardy’s work has alerted the government that the country may face future risk if the problem of 42 million children currently have no legal identity is not resolved. This event, considered the largest in the world, has raised the attention of Ministry of Social Affairs, which is now planning to launch the program nationally. This has also inspired companies that “what is good for society and the environment” is also “good for business.” It is more than just a “do no harm approach,” but essential part for doing business.

Junardy also raised the importance for companies to take a role in promoting inter-religions and inter-cultural peace and harmony for ensuring the social license for their business sustainability. Internally, he always emphasized the aspect of inter-religions and inter-cultural peace and harmony as an important corporate policy. It is reflected in practical implementations; for example, his company is providing a proper praying room for the employees (especially for Muslims who needs to be able to pray 5 times per day) and sponsoring the celebration of Eid al-Fitr and Christmas with participation by employees from various religions showing tolerance and respect of others. The Business Units also provide the transportation for the employees who return to their home town for religious festivals.

Junardy also sits as a board-member in various non-profit organizations, among others: Indonesia Business Links; House of Love Foundation; Indonesian Association on Religion and Culture; and Bhumiksara Foundation. He also serves as President of Asia Marketing Federation Foundation and a member of the President’s Advancement Advisor Committee of National University of Singapore.

Discussion Questions

  1. 1. How and why does experience working with people from diverse backgrounds stimulate philanthropy?
  2. 2. Why can businesses sometimes solve problems governments can’t or won’t? Can you identify any such problems?
  3. 3. How and why collaborating with organizations like the UN Global Compact help magnify and expand local business initiatives?
  4. 4. Why is working across sectors needed to solve many problems? Identify situations where business, civil and governmental entities work together to solve socio-economic problems.

Media and Added Resources

This case study was prepared by Melissa Grim, J.D., M.T.S., a senior research fellow with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, and Brian Grim, Ph.D., president of the foundation. It is made possible by a generous grant from the Templeton Religion Trust.