Jakarta. Former United States President Barack Obama will open the 4th Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora on July 1 in Jakarta, the chairman of the Indonesian Diaspora Global Network, or IDGN, Dino Patti Djalal said on Monday (12/06).
"We have received confirmation that the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, will deliver the keynote address to the 4th Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora on July 1," Dino said during a press conference in Jakarta.
He added that Obama has always been a special friend of Indonesia and an inspiration to many Indonesians.
Obama spent his early childhood years in Jakarta. He moved to the capital city in October 1967 and lived here for three and a half years. During his time serving as US president, Obama often talked about his memories of Jakarta whenever he met Indonesian officials.
Barry, as he was called in his old elementary school in Menteng, a suburb in Central Jakarta, has an Indonesian-born stepsister called Maya Soetoro.
According to Dino, Obama is visiting Indonesia to fulfill an invitation from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to go on a vacation in the archipelago.
Obama has traveled to several countries, including Italy and Germany, since leaving office. Last Tuesday, Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made headlines after Trudeau posted a photo on Facebook of them sharing a meal in a booth in Montreal, Canada.
The New York Times reported that Obama will travel to South Korea in July, where he plans to see former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak.
Dino added that Obama’s keynote address on July 1 will be his first speech in Asia, after reportedly delivering a private paid speech during a visit to Italy.
"[Confirming Obama’s attendance] took us a while. We sent a proposal and it took around 4 to 5 months to receive a confirmation from his office," Dino said.
"We don't know what Obama's speech will be about, but we have proposed two main themes to him: globalization and pluralism."
There are approximately six to eight million Indonesian diaspora, according to Dino. Most of them – around two million – are migrant workers (TKI). According to data, most overseas-based Indonesians live in Malaysia, the United States, Singapore, South Korea, China and Qatar.
The Congress of Indonesian Diaspora is a biennial event organized by IDGN – a network established in 2012 in Los Angeles. This year's event will take place from July 1 to 4 at Kota Kasablanka, a mall in South Jakarta.
The public will get a chance to attend Obama's address by taking part in a Twitter competition. After registering through the congress’ event page on Eventbrite, contestants will be asked to share photos of their acts of kindness, which will then be selected by the organizers for the chance to see Obama speak at the convention. Around 2,000 seats are reserved for the public.
The congress will be open to the public on July 1, with a total of 12 sessions featuring high-profile speakers available. They include migrant workers activist Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, singer Anggun C. Sasmi, mayor of Bandung Ridwan Kamil, Indonesian-born American actress Tania Gunadi, co-founder and director of Marvell Technology Group Sehat Sutardja, Sillicon Valley's technology executive Sonita Lontoh and Asian Development Bank Vice President Bambang Susantono.
The convention is expected to be the largest gathering of Indonesian diaspora, with 5,000 participants from Indonesia and abroad.
For more information on the 4th Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora, visit www.cdi4.info