Featured Speakers: Former President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie
On January 29, the US-Indonesia Society hosted many distinguished members of the international community for a breakfast with former President B.J Habibie of Indonesia. President Habibie is the President credited with bringing democracy to the country by opening the media, increasing human liberties, and introducing the largest decentralization initiative in history. Indonesia is now the third largest democracy in the world and the largest Muslim country.
Habibie’s speech emphasized the need for a stronger relationship between Indonesia and the United States. He began by citing the commonalities between the preambles to both constitutions. Using the preambles as a template he discussed how the common values that the countries possess (including pluralism, democracy and maintaining peace throughout the world) provide capital for future cooperation between the two countries.
Later in his speech, he discussed why Indonesia is important to US interest. He referred to Indonesia as “a cornerstone of regional security” and an economic role model for other developing nations. He also pointed out his country’s strategic importance on the Malacca Strait, which is the main shipping channel between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean.
Because Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, Habibie explained how it proves that democracy is compatible with Islam, contrary to some political theory, and how it serves as a good partner in the US’s war on terror. He said that Indonesia’s success as a modern, prosperous and democratic nation will benefit the image of Islam and in pursuit of democracy worldwide.
Location: Cosmos Club
Date: January 29, 2008
Time: 8:30 am-10:00
Approximate Number of Attendees: 50
Intern Attending: Micaela Klein