Ambassador Robert O. Blake joined the US Consulate Thanksgiving celebration in Banyuwangi, E. Java from Nov 19-22, 2014. The 4-day celebration was hosted with the support of the Banyuwangi Administration and the organization Rajawali Foundation Transformasi Institute. Ambassador Blake, Consul General Joaquin F. Monserrate and Banyuwangi Regent Abdullah Azwar Anas celebrated Thanksgiving by giving back to the environment through beach clean-up and releasing sea turtles at Boom Beach, highlighted Banyuwangi’s compassionate city and tolerance with the visit to the native Osing community, and also participated in the Tweet Up event with Banyuwangi’s youth.
The pinnacle of the Thanksgiving celebration was the Thanksgiving dinner, complete with traditional Thanksgiving food and the unique tradition of pardoning a turkey. The celebration ended with Banyuwangi’s well-known cultural festival Banyuwangi Ethno Carnival. Rajawali Foundation also held workshop on governance for transparency for dozens of Eastern Indonesia’s Regents and Mayors.
Ambassador Blake noted that the Thanksgiving celebration in Banyuwangi promoted compassion and tolerance, two values shared by US and Indonesia. The celebration also showcased the people-to-people diplomacy. He noted that ”The United States and Indonesia enjoy excellent relations, built on shared values and common interests. We hope that by having Thanksgiving here, we can share in these values and express gratitude for a more strengthened partnership ahead.”