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GO Lunchtime Lecture Series
2015.7.10

Indonesia: Unity in Diversity

2015.7.10/投稿者:Christina Tamaru/GO Lunchtime Lecture
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Christina Tamaru

On July 10, 2015, the Globalization Office held a lunchtime lecture given by Mr. Hari Prabowo, who is a former AIKOM student and First Secretary at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Tokyo.
Mr. Prabowo spoke on the incredible religious, cultural, and linguistic diversity of Indonesia, which is home to over 300 ethnic groups.  He also gave examples of various cultural influences that showcase the “traditional/indigenous” cultures and “hybrid” cultures that may be found throughout Indonesia.  Mr. Prabowo emphasized that these new hybrid cultures do not supplant existing cultural traditions, and on the contrary, serve to further expand and enrich the sociocultural landscape of the nation.

Indonesia 1

Giving greater context to Indonesia’s present diversity, Mr. Prabowo explained multiple reasons why such diversity has come to exist in a single country.  He cited Indonesia’s geographical expansiveness, island communities separated from each other, and contact with many foreign cultures as primary factors that have promoted the development of a “distinct yet open” society.  In addition, he explained the historical and political events that have shaped its ideologies and commitment to democracy.

Indonesia 2

In the end, as someone with little prior knowledge about Indonesia, Mr. Prabowo’s talk was especially informative and eye-opening.  In addition, his lecture was an inspiring case for the ability of vastly different peoples to live harmoniously with one another.  Regardless of the barriers they face, whether stretches of ocean or incompatible languages, the people of Indonesia paint a compelling picture of a certain vision of globalism and peaceful coexistence.
As the University of Tokyo and Japan as a whole strive toward incorporating a global outlook, I hope that the lessons that may be gleaned from Indonesia’s past and present will motivate us all to understand and appreciate the beauty in being different.

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