Enhancing the Role of the Community in Indonesia-United States Relations

By : Widi Kusnadi, MINA’s Journalist

The US Ambassador to Indonesia, Joseph R Donovan Jr. said he wanted more intensive community participation between Indonesia and United States (US) relations. This was expressed by Ambassador Donovan in a 70-year celebration of Indonesia-US relations at the US Embassy in Jakarta, on 12 Wednesday, with the theme “’70 years and beyond’, celebrating diversity and partnership”.

Ambassador Donovan expressed his love for Nusantara’s typical textile products, Batik. Nowadays, batik has been recognized as a distinctive cultural heritage of Indonesia. At the event, Ambassador Donovan along with all embassy staff wearing batik handshake motifs which according to him is a symbol of bilateral cooperation and collaboration between Indonesia and the US.

The role of the community in a cooperative relationship between countries is very important. Without the role of the community, it feels like the relationship between the two countries will be bland, there is no variation and creativity.

This was emphasized by Ambassador Donovan so that in the future, the community could participate more optimally for maximum cooperation to achieve mutual prosperity.

The community can provide its own color in bilateral relations between the two countries. The public can also influence the government policies in state relations. The ideas that emerged naturally originated from the community itself.

The role of the community can be realized among others in the cooperation of education, culture, trade and others based on the principle of mutual benefit whose esteem is for the welfare of the people of the two countries.

In the field of education, Ambassador Donovan said, in 70 years of Indonesia-US cooperation, the number of Indonesian citizens studying in Uncle Sam’s country reached eleven thousand people. This has become one of the best achievements made by the US to Indonesia in the field of education.

“The US diplomatic mission to Indonesia has supported more than 11 thousand Indonesians who have participated in exchange programs for the past 70 years. And I think that is our best achievement,” Donovan explained.

As proof of the success of students whose studying in the US is DKI Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan. Anies was one of the people who had taken part in an exchange program in the US. During high school, Anies had also once lived with a US family in an exchange program, and he said the experience gave he understanding as a global citizen.

After graduating from S1 in Indonesia, Anies continued to pursue master and doctoral degrees in Illinois, United States.

Anies also hopes that the relationship between the United States and Indonesia will not only be limited to government or business, but there is a close relationship between citizens.

“I hope that in the future, Indonesia’s relations with the US will be colored by developing people-to-people activities, in addition to government-to-government relations and business to business, because ultimately relations between the two nations are not only state relations, not only economic, but relations between private, between communities, between cultures,” Anies said .

Meanwhile, in the field of culture, Commemorative Stamps and the joint program # IndonesiaUSA70th Youth Ambassadors were carried out to enliven the 70th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Indonesia (RI) and the United States (US) with the theme “Strategic Partnerships for Welfare in Diversity”.

Commemorative stamps display images of leatherback turtle species that lay eggs in Eastern Indonesia and live in the waters of the US West Coast. This species is a reflection of oceanic partnership relationships. Both countries hope to continue collaborating for the welfare of society and the world. 1,000 stamps will be printed, and one of them will be placed at the Indonesian Stamps Museum.
Furthermore, the # IndonesiaUSA70th Youth Ambassadors program is a collaboration between the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs which includes 10 Indonesian youths aged 18-25 years from various cultural backgrounds to learn more about bilateral relations between Indonesia and the US. They will be in the US for a three-week visit, establishing relationships and mingling with US youths. The program will provide an opportunity to promote pluralism and democracy, and prepare them to become future leaders who will strengthen relations between Indonesia and the US.

Another cultural collaboration was the 70th anniversary enlivened with a batik fashion show designed by Michelle Tjokrosaputro. The clothes on display also use the basic ingredients of cotton imported from the US.

Ambassador Donovan said, batik with a handshake motif used during the event was a symbol of friendship between the two countries that had existed so far.

Donovan explained, in addition to being a symbol of cultural cooperation, there was also a trade relationship between Indonesia and the US. cotton as the basic material of batik cloth is even imported specifically from the United States. “And of course this batik is made using cotton from the United States. I think it also highlights the collaboration between the two countries,” he added.

Acting Director General of American and European Cooperation of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Teuku Faizasyah, stated that trade cooperation is one of the sectors focused by the two countries, especially to achieve an increase in trade volume in the future.

“We want to increase mutual prosperity among others through a commitment to improve trade relations. So far our trade value has only reached 30 billion USD and we will increase it to 60 billion USD. Thus the prosperity of the trade sector can be felt by the people of the two countries,” he said.

RI-US diplomatic relations were officially opened on December 28, 1949 and are now at the stage of the Strategic Partnership. An important stage for Indonesia and the US to jointly share responsibility for finding solutions to global challenges, while strengthening strategic cooperation between the two countries.

To enliven the 70th anniversary of the RI-US bilateral relations, a number of activities have been carried out in Indonesia and the US, each of which will be carried out by Indonesian Representatives in the US and US representatives in Indonesia. Activities in Indonesia and the US will be carried out in several cities, in collaboration with various universities and local governments. All of these activities are aimed at building and strengthening relations between the two countries, to better embrace and educate the public, and to strengthen the foundation of RI-US cooperation for future generations. (A/Ast/R04)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)