Address of President of the Republic of Indonesia at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., United States of America, November 13, 2023

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 13 November 2023
Category: Remarks @en
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President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

President DeGioia;

Georgetown faculty members,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.


This is my first time speaking at an American university and it is at Georgetown University.

I have two reasons. The first is because this is a top university. A round of applause for Georgetown Uni. Second, because Indonesia and Georgetown will start cooperation and Georgetown will open a campus in Indonesia next year. I hope there is no setback.

Education is one of Indonesia’s priorities because in 2030s, Indonesia will have a demographic dividend so human resource quality becomes a determining factor. I hope Georgetown Uni Indonesia graduates can one day be a president like Mr. Bill Clinton.

This afternoon, I will not be sharing about negotiation or politics, let alone algebra. No, it’s too complicated. Just leave it to the Georgetown lectures. They’re already experts. Today, I just want to share a story about Indonesia. Has anyone ever been to Indonesia? When? Good.

Did you know that Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands? Two-thirds of Indonesia is water, and the current population of Indonesia is almost 300 million. Indonesia is home to 714 ethnicities and more than 1,100 local languages.

As the third largest democracy country in the world, Indonesia next year will hold elections, presidential and legislative or parliamentary elections, then in November there will be elections for governors, regents, and mayors. Direct elections by the people; 38 governors, 514 regents and mayors. Afterward, there will also be elections to elect 74,800 village heads.

Indonesia is a country united by diversity. For Indonesia, differences and diversity are a blessing and in managing diversity, we have a guideline, an ideology named Pancasila, [and our national motto] unity in diversity, which serves as an inspiration in every facet of life, including in the life of the state.

Indonesia considers competition and rivalry normal. US and China competition, east and west competition, that is natural and normal. Having differences is normal, but most importantly it must be managed well so as to not cause an open conflict that may be triggered by regional instability. Therefore, communication, room for dialogue, collaboration, cooperation are key to achieving stability and peace at regional and global levels. Indonesia is always open to cooperate with any country and does not take any side of power, except that of peace and humanity. That is the principle that we uphold during Indonesia’s Presidency of the G20 and ASEAN and we implement it amid a divided world marred with a fierce rivalry and an escalating geopolitical situation. Still praise to God, Indonesia managed to its duties well.

Many people asked, how could it be? How to? Then, I want to tell you. The key is [to] listen and play a bridging role. That’s it. Sometimes we forget to listen, forget to understand the interest of other parties, the character of other nations. [It applies to] especially big countries and developed countries who are busy forcing their interest, often accompanied with threats although the world is not doing alright. Instability is everywhere. The war in Ukraine is not yet over, but there is already a war in Gaza and every minute, 10 minutes, one child is killed in Gaza. More than 66 percent of the casualties are women and children. Human life seems meaningless, but for me, every life is precious.

This is a humanitarian problem, and to stop it, we need global solidarity, global leadership that puts humanity above everything. There is a quote by Abraham Lincoln, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” We all shoulder the same responsibility to keep the peace and we must complete this duty right now.

I thank you.

Dean of the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University (Joel Hellman)

So, on behalf of all of us here at Georgetown University, I want to warmly thank you, President Jokowi, for honoring us here with your visit on this historic trip to Washington DC. I now have the pleasure of asking you a few questions that were received in advance from members of our community. The first is at this Summit meeting that you are about to have with President Biden, they are going to be announcing the upgrading of Indonesia’s relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. What is the importance of upgrading the US-Indonesia relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership?

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

America is a big country that has a large influence on every country. America is also a large export destination for Indonesia. Therefore, there must be a big room to strengthen cooperation on trade, economy, investment, critical minerals, and energy transition. As a country that is rich in critical minerals and green energy potential, Indonesia can be a partner to the United States because Indonesia has the largest nickel reserves in the world, the second largest tin reserves in the world, and 3,600-megawatt green energy potential. These are huge potentials that can be used to produce green products for green economy, which America and Indonesia can develop together. It means that all of those can be developed and contribute to Indonesia, America, and the world. That is all.

Dean of the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University (Joel Hellman)

Thank you. Under your leadership, Indonesia has embarked on an ambitious plan to move the capital city to Nusantara. How will this new capital city be designed to address issues, such as sustainability, liveability, and economic development?

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Nusantara, our new capital is designed as a smart forest city, a modern city that is environmentally friendly. Seventy percent is green area, a forest area that is currently monoculture and will be improved to be a heterogenous forest that will come close to a tropical rainforest and 80 percent [of its population] will use public transportation, electric vehicles, and 100 percent of its residents must use electric vehicles, so it will be a city that is very green and habitable. Thus, the first building constructed in Nusantara was a nursery center, botanical center, which annually produces approximately 15 to 16 million seeds. They will be planted in Nusantara and across Kalimantan island so the area will be very green. The power plants also use green energy, be it solar panel or hydropower. We hope we will be able to inhabit it in August 2024.

Dean of the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University (Joel Hellman)

Thank you. I’m now pleased to present you with a gift on behalf of the entire Georgetown community. You know what a Hoya is. You mentioned it in your opening remarks. And we, because we’re beginning, we hope, a long relationship with the Republic of Indonesia and we appreciate your support, we want to make you an honorary Hoya and the best way to do that is to make you part of our basketball team. Terima kasih, Pak.


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