Thank you all for being here today. Selamat datang! I am delighted to welcome you to the new US Embassy building and am privileged to have the honor of dedicating our new home here in Jakarta, which houses both the U.S. Mission to Indonesia and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, led by my colleague Charge Jane Bocklage.
This celebration comes at a very opportune time, as this year we are also celebrating 70 years of diplomatic ties between the United States and Indonesia. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize Indonesia’s independence, establishing our first embassy on December 28, 1949. When President Truman appointed the first U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, H. Merle Cochran, he reaffirmed U.S. support welcoming Indonesia into the “community of free nations.”
This building is the latest example of that enduring commitment to our partnership and the Indonesian people.
The partnership between the U.S. and Indonesia is built on a foundation of shared democratic values and common interests, such as education, sharing expertise, and innovating to create a brighter future.
You will see examples of that innovation in our new building. In thinking about the design of the building, we wanted to reduce the impact on the environment by taking advantage of all that our location offers. The architects and designers took into consideration Jakarta’s climate, including its hot, sunny days,
and as a result, the building uses the latest in environmental sustainability features that reduces our energy consumption. Covered walkways topped with solar panels reduce overall energy needs. The exterior metal sunshades you see around the outside of the building limit sun exposure and reduce the demand for air conditioning.
Tapping into Jakarta’s famous rainfall, the building’s design incorporates water conservation strategies to irrigate our green landscaped areas by collecting and re-using storm run-off.
The innovations are not just limited to environmental and sustainability features. The building also pays tribute to Indonesia’s culture, as you can see from the building’s façade modeled after patterns of indigenous architecture and woven textiles. As you will see when you enter the building, this theme is carried throughout the inside as well.
The artwork in the building features Indonesian art inspired by America, and American art inspired by Indonesia thanks to our Art in Embassies program. Art in Embassies is a public-private partnership to promote cross-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchanges. Every day, Embassy employees and visitors have a visual reminder of the connection between U.S. and Indonesian art and culture.
You may have noticed that construction is not quite complete. While the primary building is finished, there is more work being done. We are constructing a heritage building on the site used by a Republic of Indonesia delegation during negotiations for Indonesia’s independence with the Dutch in 1949. We expect to complete this building along with our consular pavilion by the end of 2019.
The end result will be a compound touching on all the areas of our partnership with Indonesia: from the shared history of our two countries, to the thread of cultural connections woven throughout the design, to the U.S. and Indonesian workers who worked side-by-side to build the new embassy. As I like to say, our new home was “built by Indonesian and American hands.”
Thank you all for supporting and promoting the U.S.-Indonesia relationship, and for sharing this momentous occasion with us.