Dian Septiari, Jakarta – Indonesia is to host the 12th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) next week when representatives from at least 81 foreign countries and international organizations sit together to discuss democracy and inclusiveness and how they could contribute to development around the world.
"We have invited 140 countries and international organizations – 81 of which have confirmed their attendance. We hope there will be more [confirmations] in the days leading up to the event," the Foreign Ministry's information and public diplomacy director general, Cecep Herawan, said in Jakarta on Thursday.
Of that number, six countries – Australia, Palestine, Kenya, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Fiji – are to be represented by their foreign ministers and another six – Venezuela, Malaysia, Singapore, Timor Leste, Qatar and the Maldives – by deputy ministers, Cecep said.
The annual two-day meeting, first initiated by then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2008, provides a forum for governments to share how they practice democracy in their countries. When the BDF started, Indonesia had just entered its 10th year of democracy after civil unrest overthrew the dictatorship of then president Soeharto in 1998.
This year's forum is to be opened in Bali on Thursday by House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani.
"We try to maintain the continuity of one theme from the previous theme. Last year, it was about democracy and prosperity – during which we found that one of the keys to prosperity was inclusiveness. In this connection the upcoming BDF will focus on democracy and inclusiveness," Cecep said.
The coming event is also to address the specific theme of the role of women in democracy – which is to be discussed at a ministerial level session and feature two female ministers as speakers, namely Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Kenya's Foreign Minister Monica Juma. (ipa)