Indonesian Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy delivers the opening speech of the 8th Asean Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts Meeting (AMCA Meeting) in Yogyakarta on Wednesday (24/10). (JG Photo/Dhania Sarahtika)

Yogyakarta Hosts Meeting of Asean Ministers for Culture and the Arts

BY :DHANIA SARAHTIKA

OCTOBER 24, 2018

Yogyakarta. Indonesia's Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy officially kicked off the 8th Asean Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts Meeting, or AMCA Meeting, at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Yogyakarta on Wednesday (24/10).

Attended by ministers and ministry officials from ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries and from China, South Korea, and Japan (Asean+3), the meeting adopts the theme of "Embracing the Asean Culture of Prevention to Enrich Asean Identity."

The meeting will address the implementation of the Asean Declaration on Culture of Prevention, which emphasizes the role of culture and the arts in creating peace and counter extremism in the region.

The declaration was released in the 31st Asean Summit in Manila, the Philippines, in November last year.

The Yogyakarta meeting is expected to produce a blueprint of future initiatives and partnerships in culture and the arts between the Asean+3 countries.

In his opening remarks, Muhadjir said "this forum is the perfect medium to promote unity in a large scale. If Asean member states can do it, then other countries will follow."

He also outlined Indonesia’s progress in making policies to preserve and develop its rich culture.

"Cultural diversity is Indonesia's strength. There are over 300 ethnic groups that have different sets of rules and culture in this country. To us, diversity is a priceless asset," Muhadjir said.

72 years after the country's independence, Indonesia finally acquired a legal framework for culture last year – the new Law No. 5/2017 on Advancement of Culture.

The law is expected to protect and maximize the potential of Indonesia's cultural assets.

Ten types of cultural objects are now protected by the new law: oral traditions, manuscripts, customs (adat istiadat), traditional games, traditional sports, traditional knowledge, traditional technology, arts and rituals.

The regulation also makes it compulsory for cities and districts to document their assets in the "Pokok Pikiran Kebudayaan Daerah" ("Fundamentals of Regional Cultures," or PPKD) list, which will be compiled nationally.

Muhadjir also boasted of his ministry’s new programs for culture and the arts, such as "Indonesiana" – a platform for the ministry, regional Cultural Agencies (Dinas Kebudayaan) and artists to improve local cultural festivals.

Prior to the AMCA meeting, the ministers also gathered for the 14th Asean Senior Officials Meeting for Culture & Art and Related Meeting (SOMCA) from Sunday to Tuesday.

The AMCA meeting will close with an announcement of Yogyakarta as an Asean City of Culture tonight.

On Thursday and Friday, the delegates will be taken to visit Borobudur – the world's biggest Buddhist temple – in Magelang and to Kotagede, a nearby center for silver-making.

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