President Widodo will visit the U.S. and meet with President Obama on October 26—an historic opportunity to strengthen Indonesia-U.S. ties.
- The two presidents will focus on promoting religious understanding and moderation, countering violent extremism, boosting business and investment ties, expanding defense and maritime cooperation, and joint efforts to address climate change.
- The visit will help further strengthen the Indonesia-U.S. Comprehensive Partnership, established in 2010, that has fostered momentum and regular high-level engagement between the two countries.
- Many have compared President Widodo, known by his nickname “Jokowi,” to President Obama, noting the similarities in their humble beginnings, their message of hope and popular support.
- The son of a carpenter of modest means, Jokowi is known for his thoughtful engagement and interaction with people from all walks of life through blusukan (impromptu visits).
Indonesia is a thriving democracy with a deep commitment to pluralism, religious tolerance and interfaith understanding. It is one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world with the largest Muslim population.
- The idea of religious tolerance is enshrined in the nation’s Constitution.
- Both Indonesia and the U.S. are nations founded on a common idea, not an ethnic identity. That idea is unity in diversity, and freedom and dignity for all people regardless of ethnicity, religion or social status.
- Indonesia is home to a quarter billion people who belong to 6 major religions, living across 17,000 islands, speaking more than 700 languages.
- In addition to Indonesia’s 255,000 mosques, the country has more than 13,000 Hindu temples, some 2,000 Buddhist temples, more than 1,300 Confucian temples, and more than 61,000 Christian churches—more than England or Germany.
As a Muslim democracy, Indonesia plays a critical role in the international community’s fight against extremist terrorism.
- Indonesia’s approach to fighting terrorism is comprehensive and holistic, encompassing law enforcement, economic development and religious engagement.
- Indonesia counters extremism before it begins through its strong civil society. Indonesia has been taking proactive steps to combat ISIS recruitment and propaganda since 2014—from its de-radicalization programs at home to its regional leadership, including establishing the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, which has trained more than 12,000 participants from 52 countries.
The United States and Indonesia are bound together by shared interests and values. The historic meeting of Presidents Obama and Widodo will begin a new chapter of cooperation and amity between two great nations.