When I was approach by the Frans Seda Foundation to join the Seminar, I was highly intrigued by its’ 2016 theme ‘Identity without Borders’. Indonesia and the Netherlands has a extensive shared history that effects each country’s identity so I was curious to know how this would be incorporated into the week-long Seminar. Through the Seminar I got to meet a diverse group of participants from various backgrounds. Spending time together and listening to their stories was an excellent opportunity to reflect on how identity is fluid, influenced also by your culture, traditions, and heritage. The seminar was constructed in a way that we had enough time to get to know each other (most often over food, a universal unifier!)
The most valuable learning experience I had was how our shared history is perceived differently between the Dutch and the Indonesians. The Seminar created a platform where we can discuss this openly, and I find that through these dialogues we are able to understand and respect each other’s point of view. We realised that this understanding is needed if we want to have a strong foundation to build bridges between the two countries. The Seminar also facilitated us in coming up with ways to translate the insights we got into action.
Being part of the Seminar has been a great experience, and created new friendships. I hope future participants would gain as much!
Programme Director for CISDI (Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Iniatiaves)