Jakarta. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and three other women from across the globe last week received the UN Women and Global Partnership Forum’s Agent of Change award for her work in gender equality and women’s empowerment.
"Indonesia will continue to contribute to world peace, security and prosperity. Women are a force and part of the solution to address world challenges," Retno said during her speech on Wednesday (20/09).
Retno is the first woman to hold the position as minister of foreign affairs in Indonesia and has dedicated three decades in public service to the Indonesian government.
The award recognized Retno’s various achievements during her time as a public officer, which has included promoting the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development as well as contribution to humanitarian and diplomatic efforts on a number of global issues, including the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
Indonesia has played an active role in resolving the crisis in Myanmar, which has led more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees to flee from the violence-prone region to neighboring Bangladesh.
The minister visited Myanmar earlier this month, where she met with high officials from the government of Myanmar, including state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and the chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, Gen. U Min Aung Hlaing.
During the meeting, Retno urged open access for humanitarian aid and suggested a multi-pronged approach to resolve the complex conflict involving the world’s most persecuted minority, the Rohingya.
During her speech on Wednesday, Retno also reaffirmed that Indonesia will always "be at the frontline in encouraging dialogue," according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallstrom and chairwoman of United Arab Emirates’ General Women’s Union Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, were also recognized for their work in promoting gender equality and empowering women. The event was held on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
According to a statement released by UN Women, the 2017 award recipients "have consistently been committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the peace and security projects in their countries and beyond."
UN Women deputy executive director Lakhsmi Puri said that Retno’s leadership and expertise has broken "many glass ceilings for women around the world and serves as an enforcer of gender equality."