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M. Hafsah: Address to World Summit

Address to World Summit 2019, Seoul, Korea, February 7–11, 2019


Indonesia is known as the largest archipelago, with over 17,500 islands. It also known as a maritime country because two-thirds of its territory consists of oceans. With a population of 250 million Indonesia is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse nations, being composed of about 500 ethnic groups and using 730 vernacular languages. There are six official religions in Indonesia. 

Indonesia is in the equator and is between two continents: Asia and Australia. It is flanked by two oceans: namely, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, so that Indonesia is central to international trade traffic. The people of many nations in the world are coming to Indonesia, including China, Arabia, India, Europe, Southeast Asia and America, adding to the diversity of cultures that have blended with the existing culture. They can live side by side and peace. This is due to the ideology of Pancasila (Five Principles) and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) as a valuable basis for cultural environments, peace and harmony in Indonesia. 

Pancasila is excavated from the life and culture of Indonesia itself. Pancasila became the basis of the state, state ideology, the view of the state's life and ethics of the nation. Pancasila can embrace and unite people of diverse religions, beliefs, and ethnicities. Pancasila is the one who embraces and cares for the people together to live peacefully with the motto of Bhineka Tunggal Ika.  

Pancasila is sometimes translated as “five pillars.” Considered inseparable and interrelated, these five principles can be roughly translated into English as the following:

  1. Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa: Belief in one supreme God/the great oneness of God;
  2. Kemanusiaan yang adil dan beradab: A just and civilized humanity;
  3. Persatuan Indonesia: The Unity of Indonesia;
  4. Kerakyatan yang dipimpin oleh hikmat kebijaksanaan dalam permusyawaratan perwakilan: The sovereignty of the people guided by the inner wisdom arising out of deliberations among representatives;
  5. Keadilan sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia: Social justice for all of the people of Indonesia.

In the first principle, “belief in one supreme God,” here Indonesia recognizes every religion that prevails in Indonesia and allows each of its inhabitants to embrace their respective religions and beliefs. Indonesia adheres to the principle that every religion in this country must be protected—its followers, its rituals and places of worship. Even though Indonesian religion is varied, its followers feel safe because there is a guarantee from the government to create peace.

"Just and civilized humanity" means that every human being is the same and must be treated equally. Although each citizen adheres to different religions and beliefs, the government does not treat all of Indonesia citizens differently at all.

By practicing the two principles above, Indonesia can now be said to have been applying peace, although how Indonesia handles cultural and religious diversity may vary greatly. Also, as world history shows, peace must be well maintained and taken care of. However, the key of what is most emphasized in maintaining harmony in Indonesia today is trust in fundamental human rights, dignity, and human personal values. The equal rights of all people, practicing tolerance, and living together in peace with each other—all are regulated in the Indonesian constitution, namely the 1945 Constitution.

Diversity and the dynamism that occurs in Indonesia can also be maintained through continuous dialogue, as well as respect and tolerance, which create a positive attitude towards fellow citizens both in Indonesia and in the world.

At present, Indonesia is ranked 55th in the 2018 Global Peace Index. This ranking is better than America’s (Rank: 121). Like Indonesia, America has various cultures and religions. Indonesia’s ranking has dropped from previous years because it is still learning the process of democracy, which has just begun. It is expected that in the next few years, when democracy has gone well, then the level of peace in Indonesia will rise. 

How to maintain and care for unity and togetherness entails the following:
• Socializing the five pillars and the 1945 State Constitution of Indonesia;
• Implementing a law that emphasizes the need for togetherness, living side by side, peace and prosperity;
• Various institutions aiming toward the same goal to care for togetherness and living side by side across religions, across tribes and ethnicities;
• Maintaining the spirit of "Gotong Royong" (synergistic cooperation) as an ancestral heritage.

Basically the concept of inter-religious harmony in Indonesia comes from cultural principles and practices that have been passed down from generation to generation. As we know, dialogue is not limited to verbal conversations that are momentary but continue to be maintained and nurtured on an ongoing basis. For example, in villages throughout Indonesia there are various types of community forums held for the harmoniousness of the village or the district.

Finally, the Indonesian people have 2,000 years of experience in developing positive ways to work with cultural and religious diversity to foster a harmonious life and will have that attitude to advance to a more peaceful country.



To go to the 2019 World Summit Schedule page, click here.