"The total number of participants and observers who attended the first national congress of Indonesian Dayak Youths is 1,500. They came from Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, Jakarta and Sabah Serawak," the organizing committee chairman, Thoeseg T. T. Asang, said.
He added that as the host, Central Kalimantan sent 15 representatives from each district and city, bringing the total number of participants from the province to 500.
While West Kalimantan sent 300 representatives, East Kalimantan sent 200; South Kalimantan sent 150; North Kalimantan sent 75; Jakarta sent 10; and Sabah Serawak sent 12.
"They came as participants and observers. With 25 from each region, their total number reached more than 1,500," he stated in his speech at the opening ceremony of the event.
The congress, which will be held till August 5, was organized to discuss strategic issues, including changing the mindset of members of the Dayak tribe to love their culture more.
"This was done so that our culture is not eroded by a foreign one. We also prepare youths to get fully involved in developmental efforts and to face global competition," Asang affirmed.
The congress was also aimed at developing unity among Dayak tribe members and between Dayaks and other groups, he added.
Moreover, the Ministry of Home Affairs lauded the event as part of efforts to strengthen the Unitary State of Indonesia.
Director General of Political Affairs and General Administration Soedarmo made the statement in his speech at the opening ceremony of the event.
He noted that youths played a strategic role in preserving the life of the state and nation and that their spirit must be preserved, not eroded.
"The current process of globalization has caused a moral crisis. In view of that, the first National Congress of the Dayak Youths of Indonesia must be used as a platform for mental revolution, to change peoples way of thinking and working for better lives," Soedarmo remarked.(*)