With global food and energy crises in full swing, young scientists will come to the rescue in the nick of time and save Indonesia and the world from catastrophe.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono voiced his hopes during a meeting with more than 400 participants in the Asian Science Camp at Tampaksiring State Palace in Bali on Tuesday.
The President said he expected the scientists to introduce technological innovations promoting a frugal lifestyle to help ease the world's diminishing energy and food resources.
Also in attendance were several Nobel laureates and noted scientists.
Yudhoyono said the increasing global population, currently at an estimated 6.5 billion, would result in dire consequences if the world's food and energy consumption did not decline.
"The problems we face will continue to grow, and I hope participants of this camp will be able to someday provide answers and solutions to these problems," he said.
President Yudhoyono, who was accompanied by First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, assured those in attendance although the challenges in tackling climate change and a possible energy crisis were tough, they could still be solved.
"We have to be optimistic and open-minded. Being pessimistic, halfhearted or not innovative will lead us nowhere," he said.
He expressed gratitude to the participants of the science camp, saying the 300 Indonesian and 60 Asian students attending the camp symbolized the hope that Indonesia and other Asian countries would lead the world in changing global lifestyles.
"With students like you, I'm sure Asia will have a bright and prosperous future," Yudhoyono said.
The 2008 Asian Science Camp is a six-day event being held in Sanur, Bali. It kicked off on Monday, with students from across the continent attending seminars held by Nobel laureates and other noted scientists to further motivate students in their pursuit of science.
Some of the Nobel winners at the event are Prof. David Gross from the United States (2004 Nobel Prize in Physics), Prof. Masatoshi Koshiba from Japan (2002 Nobel Prize in physics) and Prof. Yuan Tseh Lee from Taiwan (1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry).
Other prominent scientists at the event include Prof. Nelson Tansu, who is the youngest Indonesian ever to receive the title of professor, and Dr. Jhonny Setiawan and Dr. Adi Santoso from the National Science Institute (LIPI).
Yohanes Surya, chairman of the science camp's steering committee, said the President's presence gave the forum greater legitimacy.
"Most Nobel laureates have historically been students of previous Nobel laureates. This event will hopefully provide the same opportunity to Indonesian students attending this camp," he said.