The United States – Indonesia Society celebrated its 16th Anniversary with a Gala Dinner in Washington on April 13 featuring Special Guest the Honorable Lisa P. Jackson of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Keynote Speaker His Excellency Dr. Boediono, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia.
In her introduction of Vice President Boediono, Ms. Jackson recalled she had represented President Obama at the inauguration of President Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono in 2009. She also discussed EPA initiatives in Indonesia, which include a new partnership to improve air quality and public health. The partnership, “Breathe Easy, Jakarta,” is developing cost-effective strategies for understanding and improving Jakarta’s air pollution problems.
Vice President Boediono extended the warm greetings of President Yudhoyono and a message of friendship and goodwill from the people of Indonesia to the people of America. He congratulated USINDO on its 16th Anniversary, noting that “in high tide and low tide, USINDO has promoted greater partnership and mutual understanding between Indonesians and Americans… with great passion and professionalism.” He noted the Indonesian story is one of remarkable success over the past 10 years, stating that “Indonesia’s experience shows we do not necessarily have to choose between democracy and economic growth. Indeed, we can have both democratic development and economic progress at once.”
Dr. Boediono also highlighted aspects of Indonesia’s domestic and foreign policy over the next five years, including a report on Indonesia’s economy, and its renewed focus on combating corruption. “As a result of this aggressive policy, hundreds and thousands of corruption cases have been unveiled…and a culture of shame for corruptors is also fast emerging.” He singled out the so-called “mafia of the courts” – those who facilitate under-the-table deals between lawyers, brokers, judges, and government officials, and highlighted the Special Task Force formed by President Yudhoyono to fight corruption.
Dr. Boediono concluded by emphasizing the potential for U.S. – Indonesian relations under the planned Comprehensive Partnership. Once signed, it will “usher in a new era of partnership – equal partnership – between Indonesia and America that will contribute to the stability of the region and the world.”
USINDO Co-Chair Stapleton Roy presented USINDO’s Distinguished Honor Award to USINDO Co-Founder and Co-Chair Emeritus Ed Masters and Allene Masters. The award recognizes and celebrates the work of Ambassador Masters and Allene Masters in expanding understanding of Indonesia and of the importance of the United States-Indonesia relationship, from the founding of USINDO in 1994, to the advent of a U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership in 2010.
A transcript of Vice President Boediono’s speech is available here.
For pictures of the event, please visit our online gallery here.