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Cablegate: Engaging Indonesian Youth - Nsc Ramamurthy

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PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDH RUEHDT RUEHGI RUEHJS RUEHKUK RUEHLH
RUEHPB RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHJA #0159/01 0350712
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040712Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4424
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 000159

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/PD, R, IIP/IR, ECA
NSC FOR P. RAMAMURTHY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SOCI KISL OEXC OIIP KPAO SCUL EAID KPAO ID XF

SUBJECT: ENGAGING INDONESIAN YOUTH - NSC RAMAMURTHY
DISCUSSES CAIRO VISION

1. (SBU) Summary: NSC Senior Director for Global Engagement Pradeep
Ramamurthy met with a wide cross-section of Indonesian youth, in
addition to meetings with government officials and civil society and
business interlocutors during his January 24-29 visit to Indonesia.
Ramamurthy shared with audiences President Obama's vision for
broadened engagement between the United States and Muslim-majority
countries as articulated in the President's "New Beginnings" speech
in Cairo and also briefed on the Interfaith Dialogue held January
25-27 in Jakarta. Indonesian youth interlocutors warmly welcomed
President Obama's Cairo vision and expressed appreciation for the
offer of more comprehensive engagement. Indonesian youth told
Ramamurthy they were eager for increased two-way exchange
opportunities. Keenly interested in how U.S.-Indonesian relations
are developing, the students voiced foreign policy concerns ranging
from the pace of the Middle East peace process, the Iran/nuclear
issue, and U.S. engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan. End summary.

Students Seek More Engagement, Especially Two-Way Exchanges
- - - - -

2. (U) In meetings with a cross-section of Indonesian students --
from a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) and a leading university
(Gadjah Mada at the American Corner) in Yogyakarta to a small
Islamic university (Prof. Drs. Moestopo Islamic University) and
leaders of religious youth organizations in Jakarta -- students
welcomed President Obama's vision for more comprehensive engagement
with Muslim-majority countries. Students expressed a strong desire
for additional two-way exchange opportunities and eagerness for
increased engagement with Americans via such exchanges. They said
they want to improve English language skills and to build mutual
understanding between the two countries. They said they were also
interested in working with Americans on a variety of cooperative
activities (including in the areas of trade and investment and
science and technology) as they aspire to help Indonesia become a
developed country.

Indonesian Culture, Identity and Foreign Policy Concerns
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (U) Students expressed strong points of view. They told
Ramamurthy that Indonesia was not part of the Arab world. They also
advised that Indonesians practice Islam in accordance with their
culture of tolerance and diversity. They expressed deep concern
that the media too often portrays Muslims as terrorists. They said
those depictions were hurtful and they want to be part of a
conversation that corrects those perceptions. They also noted that
it is Indonesian youth who drive change.

4. (U) Students were curious about U.S.-Indonesian relations and
asked Ramamurthy about how the U.S. views Indonesia. They voiced a
wide-range of foreign policy concerns, including the pace of the
Middle East peace process, tensions over the Iran/nuclear issue, and
U.S. engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also expressed
worries about regional issues, including tensions between Indonesia
and Malaysia and nervousness about Indonesia's ability to compete
with the entry into force of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

5. (SBU) Students at all four events left with a better appreciation
for the importance of the US-Indonesia bilateral relationship, the
Administration's emphasis on comprehensive engagement (on
cultivating partnerships in a broad range of areas like education,
health, science, and economic opportunity, as well as security), and
the U.S. government's commitment to listening to and developing
relationships with people - especially youth. Ramamurthy also
helped address concerns and misperceptions about American attitudes
towards Islam and Islam in America. At Moestopo, he was aided in
this by Indonesian students who recently returned from high-school
exchanges to the United States, which further reinforced the value
of exchange programs in cultivating mutual understanding.

New Media and Indonesia's Blogger Community
Are Force for Change
- - - - - - - - - - -

6. (SBU) A group of Indonesia's leading new media voices,
representing Indonesia's vibrant blogger community, told Ramamurthy
new media is a growing force for social change and a new source of
information, particularly for Indonesian youth. They highlighted
their commitment to media freedom and described initiatives launched
and supported by new media, including campaigns in support of free
speech and anti-corruption efforts. The bloggers were appreciative
of the Embassy's efforts to encourage freedom of expression and to
support initiatives, such as the annual "Pesta Blogger" national
gathering in Jakarta and workshops to help train Indonesian

JAKARTA 00000159 002 OF 002


bloggers.

7. (U) Mr. Ramamurthy cleared on this message.

OSIUS

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