Feb26200912:44 pm

Hillary heart Indonesia

Hillary Clinton said a lot of good things on her maiden trip abroad as Secretary of State that point to an increase in involvement and funding for international education, exchange, and development from the Obama administration.  For example:

On her first stop in Japan, Hillary told 200 U.S. Embassy employees that the notion of peace and harmony was “a good concept for America’s role in the world. We need to be looking to create more balance, more harmony.”

Then, during her last stop in Indonesia, she held a roundtable with Indonesian journalists in Jakarta and highlighted the importance of person-to-person contact and international exchange programs.  She also threw a lot of love at Indonesia and its people (a great people and place for sure, which I know from my November trip there).  Money quote:

I hope we’ll have a lot more exchanges of all kinds, people-to-people exchanges. I think governments have to talk, and that’s important, and it’s one of the reasons why I’m here in Indonesia. But there is nothing that is more effective than having people break down barriers between themselves.

The level of interest here in Indonesia for students studying in the United States has put student exchanges at the top of my list when I go back to Washington: How do we increase more exchanges? Because there’s a great interest in having Indonesians study in the United States, and I think there will be opportunities for American students to do more in Indonesia. And I just had a wonderful meeting with your President, and he was talking about how we can have more higher education exchanges, university-to-university. We should look at all of that. How do we have more healthcare exchanges where our doctors and nurses and hospitals work with yours? The more we can have that person-to-person contact, the more likely it is we can develop better understanding.

I also am very impressed at the way Indonesia has led interfaith dialogues, and also its emphasis on democracy, like the Bali Democracy Forum, bringing countries together that are at different stages of democratic development. So we do see a tremendous opportunity for us to increase our government-to-government cooperation and the comprehensive partnership that I discussed with both the President and the Foreign Minister, but also more on a people-to-people basis.

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