Indonesian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, H.E. Mr. Yuri Octavian Thamrin, opened the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Anglo-Indonesian Society (AIS) which was held at the Embassy in London on 7 December 2009. The AGM is held annually to review the Society’s activities for the past year and plan for next year’s activities.
In his opening address, Ambassador Thamrin conveyed his appreciation and gratitude for all the activities and initiatives that has been undertaken by the Society which contributed to a deeper understanding of the UK community about Indonesia. Furthermore, the Ambassador reiterated the commitment of the Embassy to continue its support for the Society’s activities. He also gave a brief description of the current economic progress in Indonesia and the plans of the President of Indonesia, Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to visit several European countries in the near future.
The AIS is a social organization which members consists of British, Indonesians and other UK residents which have an interest and affinity to Indonesia, especially to its arts, culture, travels and delicious foods. The organization and its members actively promote and introduce Indonesia’s diversity to all segments of British community. The Ambassador of Indonesia is an honorary member and patron of the Society and all Embassy staffs are members of the Society which actively supports the Society’s activities in promoting Indonesia’s positive image to the UK public.
During 2009, with the full support of the Indonesian Embassy, the Society has conducted many activities such as a discussion of bilateral relations between Indonesia and the UK on February 2009 which featured Ambassador Thamrin and H.E. Mr. Charles Humphrey, former Ambassador of the UK to Indonesia; the ‘Harapan Project’ in Jambi Province which featured Mr. Ian Rowland, Tropical Conservation Manager of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; a discussion on ‘Palms and Man’ featuring Dr. John Dransfield, a scientist from the Royal Botanic Garden and also a discussion on nature conservation especially related to farm development in East Kalimantan by Lord Cranbrook, to name a few.
Furthermore, in support for the preparation of the planned exhibition on Bali at the Horniman Museum in 2012, the Society has held a session in August 2009 where Dr. Fiona Kerlogue, the Asia curator of the Museum and a member of the Society, explained about the aforementioned exhibition. In November 2009, the Society has also held a discussion titled ‘Batik of Java Pesisir Lor’ on the beauty of batik textiles in the Northern coast of Java.
Besides its monthly meetings, the Society has also played a part in assisting the victims of recent earthquakes in West Sumatra by sending donation in the amount of £ 1,000 through the Bhakti Cikini Foundation. The donations came from Society members contributions and also from the Society’s coffers.
For 2010, the Society is planning to hold several activities such as a how the westen people view Indonesian culinary delights which will feature Mrs. Sri Owen, a writer of dozens of book on Indonesian foods; and a discussion on shadow puppets by Dr. Matthew Isaac Cohen, a lecturer of the Royal Holloway, University of London, who is also a dalang.