Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Following the historic first Congress of Indonesian Diaspora (CID) in Los Angeles, California, last week, which has been billed as a success, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged that he would pay more attention to the Indonesian community living abroad.
Indonesian ambassador to the United States Dino Patti Djalal met with Yudhoyono earlier this week to brief him about the congress and conveyed messages from the overseas Indonesian community to the President.
"The President has shown his appreciation for the congress. He welcomed the aspiration and agreed that all members of the Indonesian diaspora, wherever they are, should be treated as family," Djalal said after meeting with Yudhoyono at the Presidential Office in Jakarta just recently.
About 2,000 Indonesians and people of Indonesian descents living abroad, flocked the Los Angeles Convention Centre from July 6 to 8 to attend the first-ever CID, organised by the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC.
Prominent figures, including Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh, World Bank managing director and former finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati spoke at the event.
The 2012 CID wrapped up with the Declaration of Indonesian Diasporas, containing an 18-point commitment, with emphasis on turning the conference into a platform to promote Indonesian culture, creativity and unity for prosperity.
The congress also produced a list of recommendations to the Indonesian government to set up the Indonesian Diaspora Network (IDN) which would serve as an independent and autonomous hub that would develop grassroots community organisations within the diaspora network.
"The network will also have national and local branches that would retain memberships from Indonesians in the diaspora community," the recommendations stated as publicised in the 2012 congress' official website www.diasporaindonesia.org.
Also included in the recommendation is the establishment of foundations that would implement a number of programmes like "Computers for Schools", "Foster Family One-on-One", "Indonesia Diaspora Brain Bank" and "Quarter a Day Social Fundraising Movement".
Djalal said Yudhoyono added that the government would look into the recommendations.
"The President has actually asked for the formation of a specific desk at the Foreign Ministry to be responsible for the diaspora," he said. "I believe the ministry has begun working on it." According to Djalal, the President had also asked all Indonesian diplomatic missions representatives abroad to be more active in reaching out to the Indonesian diaspora community in their respective countries.
The next CID is expected to be held in August 2013 in Jakarta with the theme "Diaspora Pulang Kampung" (Diaspora's Homecoming).
Yudhoyono is scheduled to attend the second CID, Djalal said. In the Los Angeles congress, Yudhoyono's speech was broadcast live from Jakarta.
The Foreign Ministry estimates that there are 5.8 million Indonesians living overseas, with more than 150,000 Indonesians, as well as Americans of Indonesian descent, living in the US alone.