The theme is ‘Bhinneka’ (meaning diversity) because Qatar is also a diverse country (like Indonesia).
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia is the first country in Southeast Asia to be chosen as a partner country for the holding of the Years of Culture, an international cultural exchange event initiated by Qatar Museums.

Indonesia has been chosen as the partner for the event because of its cultural wealth and distinctiveness, Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar Ridwan Hassan said at a virtual press conference on Monday.

“The cultural relation between Indonesia and Qatar has been maintained for a long time … In the cultural sector, we (Indonesia and Qatar) also have some similarities, especially since we are influenced by Islamic cultures," he noted.

The Indonesian ambassador said that the Indonesian diaspora in Qatar of around 22 thousand people has also contributed significantly to promoting Indonesia’s cultures and in the country’s selection as the partner country for the implementation of Years of Culture 2023.

Many of them are considered to have contributed to the development of sociocultural activities in Qatar, he said.

He also noted that many Indonesian people have contributed to the local economy by working in the oil and gas, hospitality, and home industry sectors in Qatar.

According to the official website of the event, a special musical drama entitled “Hayati: Panji Searching for the Essence of Love” will be performed at the opening of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Years of Culture on May 23 and 24.

The performance will be directed by an Indonesian artist and director, Rama Soeprapto, and will be performed at the Katara Opera House in Doha, Qatar

Soeprapto said that the drama is based on the Sutasoma Book created in the era of the Majapahit Kingdom, which inspired Indonesia's national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which means unity in diversity.

The inaugural Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Years of Culture would also be attended by chairperson of the Qatar Museum, Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Director general of culture at the Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Ministry, Hilmar Farid, said that there would be a series of other activities during the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Years of Culture, which will last until December.

The activities include a coffee festival, which could serve as another means of diplomacy between Indonesia and Qatar, as well as a photography exhibition.

"The focus (of the event) is cultural dialogue between the two nations. The theme is ‘Bhinneka’ (meaning diversity), because Qatar is also a diverse country (like Indonesia),” the director general said.

He noted that Qatari citizens make up only about 15 percent of the total population of Qatar, while its remaining residents are expatriates of various nationalities.

“Since people from all nations are there (in Qatar), hence, we want to celebrate this diversity. Indonesia is expected to be able to contribute (in maintaining the diversity), thus there will be a solid cultural relation between the nations," he added.

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Translator: Lintang Prameswari, Uyu Liman
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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