Report by Umar Hadi, Director for Public Diplomacy Department of Foreign Affairs Republic of Indonesia at the Opening of the 2006 Indonesian Art and Culture Scholorship Program, Jakarta, 6 September 2006


Your Excellency Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Organizing Committee, I have a great honour to deliver a brief report on the 2006 Indonesian Art and Culture Scholarship Program.
When the Scholarship was launched in 2003, it was awarded to 15 participants from 6 countries of the then newly created Southwest Pacific Dialogue (SwPD). The significance of the Program in promoting people-to-people contact in the region has encouraged the Indonesian Government to organize it annually and enlarge it, in 2004, with the inclusion of all ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN+3 countries, and countries of the Pacific Islands Forum. Hence, the numbers of participants has increased every year, from 15 participants in 2003, to 28 in 2004, and to 37 in 2005.
This year, 40 participants from 20 countries have been awarded the Scholarship. And for the first time, this year, we have included participants from India.
With their rich and diverse cultural background, the 40 –among them professionals musicians, dance instructors and students of the arts– will encounter exchanges of traditions, experience, and friendship.
The participants will be dispatched in 3 groups to experience Indonesian art and culture in three renowned art centers in the city of Bandung, the city of Solo and the island of Bali. They will experience 10 weeks of rigorous training and cultural exchanges with real Indonesian artists. They will expose themselves to first hand experience of the cultural life of common Indonesians. And they will share their experience with their new Indonesian friends.
Prior to their trainings, the participants will have a two-week orientation program at the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Centre for Education and Training. They will learn practical Bahasa Indonesia for daily use. They will learn be introduced to traditional and contemporary art and culture of Indonesia. And they will also experience some artistic and cultural events in the city of Jakarta.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are extremely grateful that the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, is here with us this morning to formally open this 2006 Indonesian Art and Culture Scholarship Program. I know for a fact, Minister Wirajuda has a personal attachment to this scholarship program, not only because of the importance of the program for community building in the region, but also because this program is indeed his own brainchild.
It is therefore very pertinent that the Organizing Committee will strive our best to facilitate each and every participant in his or her stay in Indonesia and to ensure the success of this program.
Finally, please allow me to extend my most sincere gratitude for the active support and contribution from all parties within and outside the Department of Foreign Affairs. 
I thank you very much.