The Jakarta Post
Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi underscored the importance of nurturing harmony in diversity as she welcomed on Wednesday the latest batch of international students participating in the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship (BSBI) program.
"Harmony has to be nurtured by each and everyone of us, [...] and the young generation must adopt this culture of harmony — youths today [are] leaders tomorrow," Retno told an audience of 60 participating youths from 47 countries. "Diversity is given...but not harmony."
(Read also: Government allocates Rp 22.5t for scholarships)
The annual scholarship program, currently in its 15th iteration this year, provides foreign youths the opportunity to learn about Indonesian culture, language and customs in a three-month live-in program in arts and cultural centers around the archipelago.
Citing this year's BSBI theme of "celebrating diversity, harnessing harmony," Retno welcomed the diversity of the scholarship recipients, and called them "friends [and] ambassadors of Indonesia to the world."
Since its inception in 2003, the scholarship has been awarded to 718 alumni from 63 countries, including this years' newcomers Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, Ukraine, Kyrgistan and Tajikistan.
The BSBI program was initially offered to member countries of the South West Pacific Dialogue, but has since been expanded to include participants from ASEAN+3 (ASEAN member states, China, Japan and South Korea) and the Pacific Island Forum, as well as many others.
"We expanded the program because we believe in the power of the youth [and their] ability to change the world into a better place," she said.