"Bridges" in Indonesia and Thailand starting in January 2017

Message of Welcome

by HE Dr. Muhammad Jusuf Kalla

Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia and Indonesian Honorary Chairman of "Bridges"

Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Peace be upon us.

First of all, let us thank Allah, God Almighty, for with His blessings we are able to hold the 6th ASEAN event series "Bridges - Dialogues toward a Culture of Peace" initiated by the International Peace Foundation (IPF).

As one of the host countries for this event together with the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, Indonesia welcomes the holding of these series from January to March 2017.

I would like to thank His Serene Highness Prince Alfred of Liechtenstein, IPF's Advisory Board Chairman, and Mr. Uwe Morawetz, IPF's Founding Chairman, for bringing together Nobel Prize laureates in various fields to share their experiences and best practices in dealing with global challenges that are becoming increasingly more complex.

I applaud the IPF and its "Bridges - Dialogues toward a Culture of Peace" for its innovative efforts in promoting peace. As you may already know Indonesia has always made every effort to resolve conflicts through dialogues either at the national, regional, or international level. As the third largest democratic country in the world Indonesia continues to face many challenges. One of the main challenges is maintaining national harmony and unity in a country of 250 million people spread over the world largest archipelago and comprising hundreds of different ethnic groups, languages and cultures.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world, but it is also home to sizeable Catholics, Protestant, Hindu and Buddhist minorities. On the whole Indonesia has succeeded in maintaining national unity and harmony based on the national ideology Pancasila and the national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or Unity in Diversity. Nevertheless, Indonesia had experienced several major internal conflicts since its independence, such as in the forms of separatism and communal conflicts.

Since the Reformasi period, however, Indonesia has succeeded in resolving its internal conflicts through peaceful means. The country's most monumental achievement is undoubtedly the peaceful resolution of the long drawn out conflict in Aceh through negotiations.

At the regional level, Indonesia has actively promoted peace and stability in the region. As one of the founding members of ASEAN, Indonesia believes in the importance of ASEAN regional code of conduct which prohibits the threat or use of force in resolving conflicts, and calls on all parties to settle all disputes through peaceful means.

I strongly believe that to overcome differences between religious communities as well as the threats of radicalism and extremism we should prioritise the soft approach, such as through interfaith dialogues and more inclusive socio-political and socio-cultural policies, aimed at building mutual understanding, mutual respect and social justice.

Indonesia has been recognized as a country that has been successful in dealing with extremism and terrorism, which have now become global threats. I am confident that our efforts in this area can also contribute to world peace and that Indonesia has some best practices that we can share with other countries. We are proud to say that in Indonesia Democracy, Islam and Modernity walks hand in hand.

I also believe that the 6th ASEAN event series of "Bridges - Dialogues toward a Culture of Peace" in Indonesia would enhance our collective understanding about the importance of dialogues and building a culture of peace.

To conclude, I would like to welcome all speakers and participants to Indonesia. I wish you all fruitful discussions and joyful stay in this fascinating country. Thank you.

Wassalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Muhammad Jusuf Kalla

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