President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said batik served as a “diplomatic tool” as he officiated on Wednesday the World Batik Summit 2011 in Jakarta, which will run until Oct. 2.
“We use batik as a tool for diplomacy and friendship with the international community,” the President said in his opening speech.
He didn’t elaborate exactly how batik could be used as a diplomatic tool, but said it had been enabled through UNESCO’s naming of batik as an intangible element of world cultural heritage.
Yudhoyono said Indonesians should be proud of UNESCO’s acknowledgement of batik, and should promote batik as an Indonesian product.
“I love batik. I like batik. I like wearing it and I often wear batik,” Yudhoyono said as quoted by Antara state news wire.
He also said batik had helped improve the local economy, adding that batik sales in Indonesia had reached Rp 3.9 trillion (US$436.8 million) in 2010, an increase from Rp 2.5 trillion in 2006.
The value of batik exports, meanwhile, increased from $14.3 million in 2006 to $22.3 million in 2010.
“I see opportunities to further boost these figures,” the President said.
The World Batik Summit 2011 is themed “Indonesia: Global Home of Batik” and is scheduled to host conferences and an exhibition.