Your Excellency Mr. Adhyaksa Dault, The State Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport,
Awardees of the 2009 Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to welcome each and every one of you at the opening and inauguration ceremony of the 2009 Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship. This is the seventh consecutive years the Department of Foreign Affairs has organized the program. Throughout these years, we have encouraged more countries to take part of the program. This year, we welcome Austria as the new participant of the program and I am equally happy to award the scholarship to 50 young men and women from 31 countries.
But above all, it is heartwarming to see the presence of all selected awardees to this year’s program in spite of the recent terrorist attack in Jakarta two weeks ago. Your presence here is a vote of confidence and support to Indonesia’s effort in countering terrorism.
Indeed, the terrorist attack had no significant effect on Indonesia’s social, economic or political life. As in previous attacks that we suffered, we will bring the perpetrators to justice. We will do so without sacrificing our commitment to democratic due process, rule of law and respect of human rights.
The terrorists have not changed anything in Indonesia. They have therefore failed once again.
The terrorists have only one advantage. To frustrate their violence, the government must succeed one hundred percent of the time. The terrorists need to breach a security system only once to carry out a massacre. But they can be defeated. And we will win.
We will win if we work hard together. By “we” I mean all nations and all sectors of society.
We will win not through law enforcement alone but also by empowering the moderates and by strengthening their voice of moderation. Through sincere dialogue that empowers the moderates, through the redress of legitimate grievances and through skilful and sophisticated police work – we will defeat the terrorists.
Now let me convey my remarks to all awardees.
For the last 10 years, Indonesia is a place of change. It is a country of ancient traditions, civilizations, and great diversity. But it is also a place of new and developing democracy. As you prepare yourself for 3 months cultural experience in Indonesia, I would like to leave you with a picture of Indonesia in two things—diversity and democracy.
As you know, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country with overwhelmingly moderate Muslim majority in the world and the third largest democracy. More Muslims live in Indonesia, in fact, than in the entire Middle East. The most obvious diversity in Indonesia is built into the country’s islands and ecosystems, its environment and biodiversity. The islands are full of the raw materials of life. And life has grown. Indonesia has over 40,000 species of plants, 3,000 species of fish, 1,500 species of birds, and 500 species of mammals that call the country’s vast jungles and oceans home. Indeed, according to the Nature Conservancy, with the size of its lands and waters territory of around 6.1 million square kilometers, Indonesia hosts 17 percent of its plant and animal species.
But the diversity is in more than wildlife. In addition to their environment, Indonesians themselves are diverse. The country has over 230 million people, 700 languages, and 300 ethnic groups. Each major ethnic group has its own history and culture. Religion is an important part of this cultural diversity. Though approximately 90 percent of Indonesians are Muslim, large numbers are also Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, and Buddhist. The famous resort island of Bali, for instance, is mostly Hindu. On Nyepi, a Hindu holiday of rest, the streets of Bali are empty; everyone stays at home to honor the holiday.
Later on the 20th of August, Muslims will perform their fasting during the day for the next 30 days. During the month of “Ramadhan”, you will experience the true sense of tolerance, respect, and solidarity among peoples of different faiths.
Moreover, today’s Indonesian state is possible only because of democracy, the second subject I would like to introduce. Like other countries around the world, Indonesia has found democracy to be the best way to manage our diversity. Many cultures, one country—it is a part of Indonesia’s motto. In Indonesia, we call itBhinneka Tunggal Ika, or “Unity in Diversity.”
Art and culture are called the universal language that succeeds in bridging the cultural differences in the world. They are where mutual understanding among different countries and peoples could be best developed. Taken from this point of view, the Department of Foreign Affairs would like to provide a unique opportunity for dialogue between Indonesians and other nationalities. This program is also part of our effort to enhance people’s understanding and appreciation of Indonesia and its unique heritage as well as to further strengthen the mutual understanding, hence friendship, between our countries and peoples.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Some of you remember past year’s cultural performances carried out by awardees held in various cities in Indonesia. It was an evening of rich costumes, vibrant music, and stirring dance. In a word, it is always a pleasure to see their talent and ability in presenting Indonesian art and culture after three months of training in art and cultural centers in Bandung, Solo, Yogyakarta and Bali. I believe, all of us in this room, are looking forward to a similarly enjoyable experience in the forthcoming month of October 2009 in Solo, Central Java.
With that hope and expectation, I have the pleasure to declare the 2009 Indonesian Arts and Culture Program officially open.