Azyumardi Azra, born on March 4, 1955, is Professor of history and Director of Graduate School, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta, Indonesia (January 2007-on); and was Deputy for Social Welfare at the Office of Vice-President of the Republic of Indonesia (April 2007-October 20, 2009).
He was rector of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University for two terms (1998-2002 and 2002-2006). He earned his MA in Middle Eastern Studies, MPhil and PhD degrees in history all from Columbia University in the City of New York (1992) with the dissertation “The Transmission of Islamic Reformism to Indonesia: Networks of Middle Eastern and Malay-Indonesian `Ulama’ in the 17th and 18th Centuries”. In May 2005 he was awarded Doctoral Degree Honoris Causa in Humane Letters from Carroll College, Montana, USA.
He was also a Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, Australia (2004-9); a member of Board of Trustees, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan (2004-on); a member of Academic Development Committee, Aga Khan International University-Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC), London (2006-9); and Chief, Auditory Board, Bogor Agricultural University (Bogor, Indonesia, 2008-on).
He has been involved as a member of selection committees for research awards, such as SEASREP (Southeast Asia Studies Research Exchange Program), The Nippon Foundation & The Asia Center, Tokyo (1998-9). He is also a member of Advisory/Management Board of Asian Research Foundation (ARF), Bangkok (2005-on); Asian Scholarship Foundation (ASF), Bangkok (2007-on); The Habibie Centre Scholarship (Jakarta, 2005-on); Asian Public Intellectual (API) Fellowship Program, The Nippon Foundation, Tokyo (2007-on); and Indonesian International Education Foundation (IIEF, Jakarta 2007-on). He is also a member of Indonesian National Research Council (DRN, 2004-on); and a life-time member of Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI).
In addition, he is a member of advisory board of a number of international institutions such as Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia (2004-on); the Multi-Faith Centre (MFC), Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia (2005-on); the US Institute of Global Ethics and Religion (2004-on); Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam (CSCI), University of Melbourne, Melbourne (2005-09); Centre for Islamic Law and Society, University of Melbourne (2008-on); the UN Democracy Fund/UNDEF, New York (2006-08); US LibforAll (2006-on). He is also member of the Tripartite Forum [governments, UN offices and Civil Society organizations] for Interfaith Cooperation for Peace, Development and Human Dignity, launched at the UN in New York on March 24, 2006; member of the Board of International IDEA (Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Stockholm 2007-on); member of Board of Governors, Bali Democracy Forum (BDF)/Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), Jakarta/Bali, 2008-on); and member of Council of Faith, World Economic Forum, Davos (2008-on).
He is editor-in-chief, Studia Islamika: Indonesian Journal for Islamic Studies (1994-on); advisory board of Journal of Qur’anic Studies (SOAS, London, 2005-on), Journal Usuluddin (Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, 2005 on); Journal Sejarah (Universiti Malaya (2006-on); Australian Journal of Asian Law (2008-on); Journal of Islamic Advanced Studies (Kuala Lumpur, 2008-on); Journal of Royal Asiatic Society (JRAS, London 2009-on); and Journal of Islamic Studies (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, 2010-on).
He has been international visiting fellow at the Azhar University, Cairo; Leiden University; Oxford University; University of Philippines; New York University; Columbia University; University of Melbourne, and many others. He regularly presented papers on various subjects at national and international conferences.
He has published 23 books; numerous chapters in internationally edited books; his English books are The Origins of Islamic Reformism in Southeast Asia, Crows Nest, Australia: Asian Studies Association of Australia and Allen & Unwin; Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press; Leiden: KITLV Press, 2004; co-editor, Sharia’ and Politics in Indonesia, Singapore: ISEAS, 2005; Indonesia, Islam and Democracy, Jakarta & Singapore, ICIP & Equinox, 2006; Islam in the Indonesian World: An Account of Institutional Development, Bandung: Mizan International, 2007; contributing editor, Islam beyond Conflict: Indonesian Islam and Western Political Theory, London: Ashgate, 2008; and co-editor, The Varieties of Religious Authority: Changes and Challenges in 20th Century Indonesian Islam, Singapore: ISEAS, 2010.
He is also co-chair of United Kingdom-Indonesia Muslim Advisory Council, formed at the end of 2006 by British PM Tony Blair and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He has been regularly invited to meet top level foreign dignitaries who visited Indonesia, among others: President George W Bush (October 2003); US State Secretaries, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton; Prince Charles; Australian Prime Ministers John Howard, and Kevin Rudd; New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark; and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.
In conjunction with the commemoration of Indonesian independence (August 17, 1945), on August 15, 2005, he was awarded by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the ‘Bintang Maha Putra Utama’ [lit, the Star of the Greatest Son of the Soil], the highest star for Indonesia civilian, for his outstanding contribution to development of moderate Islam in the country. Early that year, in conjunction with its 50th year anniversary, The Asia Foundation (TAF) also awarded him for his outstanding contribution to the modernization of Islamic education in Indonesia. And in August 2010 he was awarded Honorary CBE (Commander of the Order British Empire) by Her Majesty The Queen for his outstanding contribution to inter-faith and inter-civilisation dialogues.