Selamat Malam dan Ramadan Karim.
I would like to welcome you, the young Muslim leaders of tomorrow, here on the occasion of Ramadan to celebrate the breaking of the fast, one of the most sacred and joyful rituals of Islam. For the past week, Muslims in the United States, in Indonesia, and around the world have been breaking the fast together, and in communion with other faiths, in order to celebrate the universal values of peace, charity, community and family.
For Muslims everywhere, Ramadan is a time to reflect upon the importance of discipline, devotion, humility and sacrifice, and to reaffirm the bonds that draw communities together. We appreciate you sharing your time with us during this special period.
Many of you are students or young people who still have choices to make about your future and where you want to go in life. Whether you choose politics, or business, or religious life, I am sure you will make a positive impact on Indonesian society and the world. However, you are not only the leaders of tomorrow—in your roles in civil society and student organizations you already are leaders of today.
And as leaders, I’m sure you know that there are also many young people that don’t have the kind of opportunities you enjoy. The spirit of Ramadan reminds us that we all have a duty to help those less fortunate than ourselves, to reach out to those in need of a helping hand in a spirit of charity and humanity.
One of the aspects of Indonesian life that is the most striking to visitors is the degree to which the country’s modern, dynamic economy continues to co-exist with a spirit of local community in which religion and traditional values continue to provide a bedrock of meaning to people’s lives.
This is particularly important in a world where rapid socioeconomic change is so often coupled with alienation and disaffection, particularly among youth. So as the leaders of both today and tomorrow, your challenge will be to reach these disaffected young people, and to help them feel like a part of society, part of a community. Your challenge is to help your President fight corruption at all levels, and ensure opportunities for all so that all Indonesians benefit from inclusive growth.
And your challenge is to look beyond just Indonesia’s borders, to see where you can have an impact in the region and the world. Indonesia has a well-deserved reputation as a country that is tolerant, peaceful, and inclusive, demonstrating that piety, democracy, and tolerance can not only coexist, but thrive. And as citizens of the world’s fourth largest country, third largest democracy, and largest Muslim-majority country, you are in a position to make a difference on a global scale, while always striving to preserve and advance those values at home.
Here tonight we have young alumni of some of our important programs—the YES program; the IVLP program; U.S. professional and educational exchanges. It is because we believe in Indonesia and because we believe in you that we prioritize sending young leaders like yourselves to the United States.
So on behalf of the United States, I want to thank you for your friendship, for your engagement, and for breaking the fast here with us tonight. Whether you are a student or a teacher, a recent graduate or an established professional, whether we agree or disagree on important issues, we look forward to strengthening our friendship in the coming years.
Selamat Malam dan Selamat Berbuka Puasa.