Kamis, 06 Juli 2017

INDONESIA VIEWS DIASPORA AS A VALUABLE DEVELOPMENT ASSET by Fardah

Jakarta, July 6, 2017 (Antara) - Some eight million members of the Indonesian diaspora living in various countries across the world are viewed as valuable assets and envoys representing the interests of the world's fourth most populous nation.
       Indonesian Diaspora groups comprise Indonesian citizens living overseas and Indonesians having migrated from Indonesia and acquired foreign nationalities, as well as Indonesian descendants, or people of Indonesian origin.        
  According to the 2012 data, the number of registered Indonesian diaspora had reached 4.6 million people, but it is estimated that there are around eight to 10 million members of the Indonesian diaspora abroad.

       On July 1-4, 2017, the Indonesian Diaspora Network Global (IDN Global) organized the fourth Diaspora Congress, which was a series of discussions involving the Indonesian diaspora from various backgrounds and highlighting recent issues, including tolerance, diplomacy, business, innovation, and culture inheritance.
       Some nine thousand people from 55 countries, including the US, China, Mexico, Germany, Suriname, Qatar, Oman, Brunei Darussalam, France, the Netherlands, and Myanmar, attended the congress held in Jakarta.
       The congress, themed "Synergize To Build the Nation," presented 42 speakers including Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, former US president Barack Obama, and Jakarta Governor-elect Anies Baswedan.     
  President Joko Widodo was presented an award by IDN Global for his efforts in supporting the community while promoting the country overseas.


       Minister Marsudi, who accompanied the group's representatives, remarked that the president had called on the members to actively engage in improving the country's economic sector.
       "With regard to the unstable state of the global economy, every country now has committed to increasing exports and has attracted more foreign investments," Marsudi pointed out.
       Hence, the president expressed hope that members of the Indonesian Diaspora Network would continue to cooperate with the government.
       "We hope the group would connect not only its members but also maintain synergy with the government in improving the country's development," she reiterated while adding that an "investment grade" status achieved by the country would pave the way for realizing more foreign investments.
       Apart from discussing the economic sector, the meeting also covered tourism promotion.
       The president expressed hope that the members would continue to introduce the Wonderful Indonesia brand to their counterparts abroad. 
  While speaking at the opening of the Congress, Marsudi stated that the diaspora is a valuable asset for the development of Indonesia.

       "We surely hope for a strong Indonesian diaspora that can partner with the government to further develop the country," she said.
       In order to maximize the roles of the Indonesian diaspora in the country's development, the minister noted that the government will soon launch an Indonesian Diaspora Card that will bridge the gap in communication and aspirations between the diaspora and government.
       The registration system for this card will be voluntary for both current and former Indonesian nationals who are registered in the diaspora network in various countries.
       "Through this card, the government will impose a few policies on the Indonesian diaspora. Hopefully, the Indonesian Diaspora Card would be launched by next month," she remarked.
       With regard to the dual citizenship policy, which has been requested by the Indonesian diaspora, the minister pointed out that the process to amend state regulations on dual citizenship is still a long way.
       However, she affirmed that the issue will not disrupt the role of the Indonesian diaspora in contributing to the country's development and advancement, as they can do so by offering their professional expertise and knowledge.
       "We know that the diaspora are valuable assets and comprise around two to three million people from different professions, including from the oil and gas sector and other workers," Minister Marsudi pointed out.
       The congress also brought on the same platform former US president Obama who, at the opening event, gave his remarks and keynote speech that highlighted the messages of tolerance, democracy, and recent global developments.
       "I think what Obama delivered in his speech is very relevant to the current situation in the world, and it resonates with all of us," she added.
       Obama's address covered a wide range of topics, from social media and populism to terrorism and climate change.
       "The spirit of this country has to be one of tolerance," said Obama, praising Indonesia as "a Muslim country that gives women opportunities and does not suppress women."
  "Rich religious diversity is such an important piece of the fabric that holds Indonesia together," Obama, who had spent four years of his childhood in Jakarta, added.

       Meanwhile, Jakarta Governor-elect Baswedan in his speech stated, "Indonesia Diaspora can become the representative of the country that accommodates the interests of Indonesia in the international world. This is the role of diaspora in our country."
  The diaspora also has the opportunity to support the development of the country.

       "Many Indonesian scientists abroad can contribute to creating innovations that can benefit the country; this applies to professionals too," he noted.
       During the first Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora held in Lost Angeles, in 2012, the then Indonesian ambassador to the US Dr Dino Patti Djalal, who had initiated the congress, had emphasized that the number of Indonesian Diaspora members worldwide was bigger than the Korean and Vietnamese Diasporas but smaller than Indian and Chinese Diasporas.
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(T.F001/A/BESSR/O. Tamindael) 06-07-2017 1

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