On Tuesday, 14 July 2015, Indonesia's Minister for Education and Culture, Dr. Anies Bawesdan, and the Chairman of Europalia International, Count Jacobs de Hagen have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly organize the Festival of Europalia Indonesia. It is a 4-month arts and cultural festival, beginning in October 2017 up to January 2018, scheduled to be held in 75 cities across Europe.
Being Europe's biggest biennale Festival, Europalia has performed festivals of the arts of culture of each guest country since 1969. Up to 2015, Europalia International has organized, in total, 25 festivals. In the beginning, the guest country of each festival was that of the members of European Union (EU). In recent years, other countries, deemed as important partners of EU, were invited to be the guest country of the Festival. Japan (1989), Mexico (2003), Russia (2005), China (2009), Brazil (2011), India (2013), and this year's Turkey are to name ones.
For four consecutive months, various arts discipline will be exhibited in the Festival. The presentation of these art disciplines shall be founded on the four pillars of basic elements which includes: Heritage (cultural heritage of Indonesia),Contemporary (contemporary art of Indonesia), Creation (new art innovation created by Indonesia and European Artists) and Exchange (Artists in residence from Europe to Indonesia and vice verca to enable them to understand each other's cultures better).
Prof. Kacung Marijan, Director General for Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, elaborated that upon the signing of the MoU, the next important task is to organize and determine the scope of work in preparing for the festival. In this regard, the Directorate General for Culture is to establish an artistic team and appoint artistic director and art curators from Indonesia, who will be assigned to work together with their European counterparts in order to design the program of the Festival starting from 2015.
Meanwhile, Baroness Kristine de Mulder, the General Manager of Europalia International, stated that it high time that Europe knows more about Indonesia. "We really hope that the broad-range promotion of Indonesian arts and cultures could augment mutual respect and understanding between the peoples of Indonesia and Europe.
Festival Europalia Indonesia is scheduled to be officially launched and inaugurated by the President of Indonesia together with His Majesty the King of Belgian. It is of a common practice that high rank officials of the European Union be present in this inauguration, including the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Parliament.
Europalia International is a Non-Profit Organization based in Brussels under the patronage of His Majesty the King of Belgian. Its board members are former Belgian as well as European Union high rank officials. Since 2012, the Indonesian government has facilitated meetings and visits of stake holders and policy makers of both Indonesia and Europalia International in a consolidated effort to prepare Indonesia as the next guest country of Europalia festival in 2017.