The first Congress of Indonesian Diaspora (CID) is scheduled to start on Friday in Los Angeles, California, with thousands of Indonesians living abroad expected to attend the three-day event.
Prominent figures, such as Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, Education Minister Muhammad Nuh, World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani Indrawati and National Economic Committee (KEN) chairman Chairul Tanjung, are schedule to appear as speakers at the event
Organized by the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC, in cooperation with Indonesian consulates in the US, it is hoped that the Indonesian diaspora will unleash its potential as a beneficial social and economic force both for the nation and the world.
“The conference is expected to raise collective awareness and pride among Indonesia’s diaspora, so that they will not consider themselves as small [separate] groups, but as part of a dynamic Indonesian diasporic community,” Indonesian Ambassador to the US, Dino Patti Djalal, stated in an invitation letter.
“Who knows, with [their] enormous idealism and intellectual resources, the Indonesian diaspora could act as a locomotive for Indonesia’s glory in the future.”
Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the conference will present 20 discussion topics, ranging from political and citizenship issues to pluralism, business and culture.
In a discussion themed “Marketing Indonesian Signatures”, participants will converse about batik, pencak silat, dangdut music and angklung. There will also be a meeting forum of Indonesianists.
Other discussion themes will include Immigration Issues, Connecting with Local Politics and Government Pluralism, Democracy and Good Governance in Indonesia and Creative and Knowledge Economy: Ideas from the Diaspora.
The Indonesian diaspora, as Djalal has defined it, comprises people with Indonesian citizenship or descent who live overseas, and also non-Indonesians who have cultural connections with the country.
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry estimates that 5.8 million Indonesians are living overseas, with more than 150,000 Indonesians, as well as Americans of Indonesian descent, living in the US.
The CID will also feature business and science figures: Marvell Technology Group founder, Sehat Sutardja; Indorama Group CEO and managing director, Om Prakash Lohia; and physicist, Yohanes Surya.
France-based singer Anggun, actress Dian Sastrowardoyo and singer Afghan are also slated to attend the event. (yps)