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Indonesia: Gadjah Mada

Speech given by His Royal Highness The Crown Prince at University of Gadjah Mada during the Crown Prince and Crown Princess' official visit to Indonesia 26 - 28 November 2012.

And finally, Scanidi, Are you here?

The Crown Princess and I are excited to visit the renowned city of Yogyakarta for the first time. We greatly appreciate the warm welcome you have given us, and look forward to seeing more of the cultural capital of Indonesia and the ancient temple of Borobodur this afternoon.

The University of Gadjah Mada is known across the world. The University’s Centre for Religious and Cross Cultural Studies enjoys worldwide acclaim – and has taken a leading role in the international interfaith dialogue.

Co-operation between the University of Gadjah Mada and Norwegian universities dates back to 1992. Through this co-operation, many Norwegian students and researchers have had the opportunity to learn about Indonesian history and culture, to travel in your country and develop lifelong friendships. The new 5-year-programme we are celebrating today, will build on strong, established relations.

I enjoy very much talking to young people – to students like you. When I get an opportunity like this, I often raise the issue of dignity. I know that dignity is also an integral part of the foundation for this university.

A few years ago, a couple of friends and I founded an organisation called Global Dignity. We visit schools, where we have workshops with pupils. We ask them to tell stories of dignity from their own lives, and ask them what they want to do in the next year to strengthen someone else’s dignity.

Today, Global Dignity is established all across the world. Every October, we celebrate a Global Dignity Day. This year, more than 50 countries were involved. Indonesia was one of them – where around 50 000 pupils took part – thanks to Global Dignity’s Indonesian Country Chairs and great organizers: Veronica Colondam and Silverius Unggul.

Now let me say a few words about why I think this is important on a global level – and why I think it is important to address at educational institutions:

We live in a time where there is no shortage of threats to our security and our way of life. Climate change, arms proliferation, poverty and cultural tensions can all result in conflict and division. At the same time the world is dependent on trust; trust between individuals, trust between organizations and trust between countries.

Security and dignity are intertwined. By helping to preserve your dignity I am simultaneously enhancing my own security. Building bridges is not easy, nor risk free. But it is the only way of creating the future we want for the generations to come.

I have seen examples of bridge-building based on an affirmation of dignity in many countries and regions. One of them was in Sierra Leone – where we began each meeting with a Muslim prayer followed by a Christian prayer, before elaborating on local development issues.

Stories like this teach us an important lesson. Every day we are reminded of our differences and the reasons why there is confrontation and violence in the world. But what is truly needed is the opposite: to emphasise what unites us.

An act of terror is an attack on the fundamental values that unite us. Both our countries – Indonesia and Norway – have experienced terrorist attacks. I thank you warmly for your compassion when Norway was struck by terror in 2011. I know deputy minister Gry Larsen will tell you more about how July 22nd affected us as a country.

But for now, let me conclude with this last point: Once we realise that every human being has the right to lead a dignified life, our differences become less important. On this common ground we can work out how to live with our differences and take advantage of the positive opportunities that reside within them.

Terima Kasih!


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