H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono President Of The Republic Of Indonesia
Assalamua'laikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,
Good evening.
Peace and Prosperity be upon us all.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier
Mr. Louis Chênevert
Distinguished Guests,
My Colleagues and Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you Rabbi Arthur Schneier, thank you Dr. Henry Kissinger, for your very kind and generous introduction.

I commend the Appeal of Conscience Foundation for its remarkable dedication in building bridges of peace and understanding for humanity. I am humbled by the recognition that the ACF is giving to Indonesia through me tonight.

My wife Ani and I also wish to thank all our guests here for joining us and for your friendship for Indonesia.

But before I go on, please accept our deepest condolences for the terrible loss of life and suffering caused by the Oklahoma tornado; and also for the horrific bombing of Boston marathon before that. I have no doubt that America will again show her resilience and bounce back even stronger.

also saddened by the brutal killing of a British soldier in London recently.Upon hearing the news, I spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron to express my condolences -- such act of barbaric violence has no place in any peace-loving religion.

These events reinforce the common challenges that bind us together. The challenge of peace. The challenge of justice, including economic justice. The challenge of freedom, democracy and human rights. The challenge of attaining harmony among civilizations. The challenge of eradicating global poverty through sustainable development.

The good news is that there is a new globalism among nations and civil societies that hopefully would elevate international efforts to meet these challenges. As part of that new globalism, I have been privileged to co-chair a UN Panel that today submitted its final report to the UN Secretary-General on the vision and shape of global development agenda after 2015.

But global efforts will not go very far unless national and local leaders do their part.

And it is at the national and local levels where things can become much more complex.

Indonesia is one such example. We are one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world, home of a quarter billion people who profess to the world’s 5 major religions, living across our 17,000 islands.

And from day one of our independence, we have always aspired to be a nation united in diversity. A nation where citizens of various race, faith and creed live together in harmony. A nation based on the rule of law.

All these core principles are enshrined in our Constitution, and in our state ideology: Pancasila. And our ability to live by these ideals would determine not just our progress but also our survival as a nation.

Today, we have come a long way in realizing such a vision. But it did not come easy. We did it by hard work, courage and determination.

Just 15 years ago, at the start of our democratic transition, we faced multidimensional crises. Economic collapse. Political turmoil. Social unrest. Separatism. Communal conflicts. Ethnic violence. Terrorism. The situation was so severe that some predicted that Indonesia would be the next Balkan – broken to pieces.

But the people of Indonesia resolutely defied that doomsday scenario. One by one, we fixed our problems. We resolved the separatist conflict in Aceh which had gone on for 30 years. We repaired our broken relations with Timor-Leste. We restored political stability. We strengthened our democratic institutions. We introduced a law to end discriminations in Indonesia. Our once-sick economy recovered to become the largest economy in Southeast Asia, and the second fastest growing in the G-20 today after China. And a thriving civil society anchors our democracy. As a result, Indonesia is often said to be one of the most successful transformational stories of the 21st century.

And our democratic success has brought strategic benefits to the region and beyond.

So, Alhamdulillah, things are on the upswing for us.

But our democracy is still a work in progress. And our nationhood is constantly tested. Maintaining peace, order, and harmony is something that can never be taken for granted.

We are still facing a number of problems on the ground. Pockets of intolerance persist. Communal conflicts occasionally flare up. Religious sensitivities sometimes give rise to disputes, with groups taking matters into their own hands. Radicalism still exists on the fringe. This, I believe, is a problem that is not exclusive to Indonesia alone, and may in fact be a global phenomenon.

To be sure, we have more work to do. We shall continue to advance Indonesia’s transformation, while tackling these problems.

As we move forward, we will not tolerate any act of senseless violence committed by any group in the name of religion. We will not allow any desecration of places of worship of any religion for whatever reason. We will always protect our minorities and ensure that no one suffers from discrimination. We will make sure that those who violate the rights of others will face the arms of justice.

We will do all we can to preserve a nation where hundreds of ethnic groups, and all God’s children - Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Confucianists and other faiths - live as one in freedom and brotherhood.

And Indonesia will always be a country where places of worships are in abundance. Presently we have over 255.000 mosques. We also have over 13.000 Hindu temples, some 2.000 Buddhist temples, and over 1.300 Confucian temples. And—this may surprise you—we have over 61.000 churches in Indonesia, more so than in Great Britain or Germany. And many of these places of worships are often found on the same street.

Externally, Indonesia will continue to be a force for peace and progress.

As a nation invested in world peace, Indonesia will continue to send peacekeeping missions to conflict areas all over the world.

As the country with the world’s largest muslim population, we will do our best to build more bridges between the Islamic and western worlds.

As a nation with a long history of tolerance, Indonesia will always be a strong voice for moderation, which we believe is the best antidote for extremism.

As the world’s third largest democracy, we are setting a good example that democracy, Islam and modernity can go together in positive symbiosis.

As a nation built on the foundation of religious harmony, Indonesia will be at the forefront of inter-faith cooperation. Next year, Indonesia will host the Alliance of Civilizations conference in Bali. And we are actively promoting Abrahamic unity so that all the offspring of Abraham can finally live together in total peace in the 21st century.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me leave you with a final thought.

Building a tolerant society is a matter of good statecraft. It requires a good mix of persuasion and law enforcement. When violence occurs, justice must prevail. However, based on our experiences in Indonesia, enforcing the law alone is not enough. Hearts and minds have to be won. Old stereotypes have to be broken. A culture of tolerance and an inclusive approach have to be constantly promoted.

And this is something that no leader can do alone. This is something that requires the collective work of a large pool of leaders, of all persuasion, and in all fields doing their statecraft to lead and inspire those who follow them.

After all, good leaders are those who stand courageously at the front line, and shine a light of hope to the future.

Let us then work together in this pursuit of a better world.

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