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10 Aug, 2013

2nd Congress of Indonesian Diaspora to open Aug 18

Jakarta Post

Jakarta, August 10 2013 – Indonesia will organize the 2nd Congress of Indonesian Diaspora (CID II), the biggest gathering of Indonesians living overseas, in Jakarta to connect and unite into one big family and increase the contribution of Indonesian Diaspora to the nation, the Foreign Ministry says.

“The Congress of Indonesian Diaspora aims to increase togetherness among Indonesian Diaspora and to more effectively build up Indonesia’s strength. KDI II (Indonesian abbreviation for CID II) is expected to create a concrete initiative to empower Indonesian communities in all corners of the world,” the ministry said in a press release on its website.

The three-day congress, which will be held from Aug. 18-20, will focus mainly on education, energy, Indonesian cuisine, business and investment, aviation, public health services, green economy, migrant workers, immigration and citizenship as well as science and innovation.

The theme of the congress will be “Indonesian Diaspora Return to Their Homeland”, the congress will be opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono at the Jakarta Convention Center. It will coincide with the Independence Day celebrations on Aug 17.

Prominent Indonesian figures like former president B.J. Habibie, World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Bank National Indonesia CEO Gatot M. Suwondo, Sehat Sutardja from Marvell Technology Group and Iwan Sunito from Crown International Holdings Group will attend the second congress. The first congress was held in Los Angeles in July 2012.

According to Indonesian Ambassador to the US Dino Patti Djalal, who played key role in organizing the first congress, Indonesian citizens who live and work abroad as well as those who were born as Indonesian citizens but have become naturalized as citizens of other countries are part of the Indonesian Diaspora.

Though both the government and the Indonesian Diaspora Network (IDN) do not have exact figures the size of the Indonesian Diaspora, it is estimated that there are around 8 million Indonesian Diaspora living abroad, in over 120 countries.

According to the World Bank, around 6.5 million Indonesian migrant workers remitted US$7.2 billion, or 1 percent of country’s GDP, back home in 2012. Indonesia is the third largest recipient in Southeast Asia after the Philippines ($24.45 billion) and Vietnam ($10 billion).

Malaysia has the highest number of Indonesian Diaspora, around 2.5 million people both legal and illegal workers. Saudi Arabia has more than 1 million, both legal and illegal, Indonesians, while the US has around 150,000.