The Subud International Cultural Association (SICA) was founded in 1983 by Bapak Mhd. Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo in response to an initiative led by Victor Margolin who chaired the Cultural Working Party at the Subud World Congress at Anguraha in Windsor, England, August 1983. Artists, educators, and cultural activists representing creative disciplines across all sectors and from many nations were members of this working party. Their initial intention was:
- To establish a communication network for Subud members working in creative fields to share experiences and best practices;
- To provide opportunities for collaborative projects and mentorship;
- To build greater public awareness and support for the positive role arts and culture could play in the development of Subud and in building a more human and more liveable world.
A full and historically accurate report by Victor Margoin of the inspiration for the working party as well as its results that were presented to Bapak is attached — and it's a very good read! Click here to download that report.
Bapak welcomed this new initiative, but advised SICA to embrace a very broad definition of culture as culture is not just about the arts. “The arts can show the way,” he said, “but culture includes all aspects of human endeavor.” He chose SICA’s first chair and vice-chair and prayed that they be like “pioneers in the cultural field” in leading SICA forward. Bapak also felt the establishment of SICA signaled the beginning of a cultural rebirth:
“Culture has been reborn through the existence of the latihan kejiwaan of Subud, and it is still small, like a seed that has just been sown, which is about to develop and come to life."
Just a year earlier, UNESCO, at its World Conference on Cultural Policies, had adopted its celebrated broad definition of culture that linked culture irrevocably to development:
"Culture is the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group. It includes not only arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs."
This also led UNESCO to later declare its World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997).
In 1993, SICA began a relationship with the newly founded Parliament of World Relations in its work to foster a global ethic of peace. This initiative was also endorsed by the World Wildlife Fund which began a parallel effort to stimulate networking between conservation and religious groups to increase awareness of humankind’s “responsibility towards the natural world.”
In 1998, SICA went on record as affirming the four key objectives of UNESCO’s culture and development agenda:
- Acknowledging the cultural dimension of development;
- Affirming and enriching cultural identities;
- Broadening participation in cultural life; and
- Promoting international cooperation.
At the same time, SICA began to focus on programs that emerge at the intersection of creativity and spirituality. Similarly, UNESCO declared that the encouragement of creativity from an early age is one of the best guarantees of growth in a healthy environment of self-esteem and mutual respect, both critical ingredients for building a culture of peace.
Interestingly, back in 1993, SICA, with a grant from the LEF Foundation, documented a set of oral histories related to the pioneering work of Walter Landor, often called the father of corporate identity design, for the Landor Archive at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. A creative genius, Landor was working on establishing a pioneering Creativity Institute when he died. (Landor Associates also designed the famous World Wildlife Fund logo.)
Since its beginnings, SICA has organized numerous exhibitions, workshops, youth camps, performances, concerts, conferences, and publications throughout the world. It has produced international cultural festivals featuring world-class artists and performers in Sydney, Australia; and Spokane, Washington, USA. SICA also helped provide cultural events and activities at World Subud Congresses in Amanacer, Colombia; Bali, Indonesia; Innsbruck, Austria; and in Christchurch, New Zealand. Its members have also generously contributed their talents to fundraising efforts in support of Susila Dharma International Association's’ social projects as well as local Subud centers throughout the world.
SICA was incorporated in the USA as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization in 1993. A volunteer Board of Directors coordinates its activities in tandem with the WSA and SICA representatives and coordinators around the world.
Subud International Cultural Association
Past Chairs and Vice Chairs:
Richard Engels, Germany
Latifah (Myerson) Taormina, USA
Bachtiar Lorot, Spain
Salamah Dick, Canada
Latifah Taormina, USA
Susannah Rosenthal, USA
Juan-Felix Prieto, USA
Hartati Horthy, Indonesia
Muchtar Martins, Portugal
Faustine Sfeir, France
Erica Sapir, France
Sebastain Flynn, Australia
Juan-Felix Prieto, USA
Khadarijah Gardiner, UK
Leonard Hitchcock, UK
Latifah Taormina, USA
Olivia Moyano, Argentina
Hassan Landen, Germany