A delegation of Indonesian diplomats concluded their visit to Honolulu yesterday with a preliminary plan for implementing the newly approved Bali-Hawaii Sister State Initiative signed by Governor Abercrombie on Monday. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) lays out the partnership’s objectives, including mutual cooperation in the development of (1) tourism and culture, (2) trade and investment, (3) agriculture, environment, and public works, and (4) education, youth and sport.
The signing ceremony took place in a standing room only Governor’s Chambers at the State Capitol with guests including state legislators, members of the Hawaii-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (HICHAM), Hawaii Sister State Commission, military, and foreign consulates. Speakers included Governor Abercrombie, Indonesian Consul General Hadi Martono (from the Los Angeles Consulate), and Denise Konan (representing President Barack Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng).
A reception followed at the Kana’ina Building (on the Iolani Palace grounds) which was launched by Hawaiian and Balinese chants. The reception also featured Balinese gamelan (a set of traditional instruments) music and dance, as well as a Hula performance and music from the Hawaii National Guard band. David Day, Chairman of HICHAM, and General Darryll Wong were among several speakers. Closing remarks and a toast were provided by Representative Gene Ward, particularly aimed at thanking Consul General Martono for his commitment and persistence to see the Sister-State Initiative become a reality.
The next day a meeting of the Indonesian delegation and HICHAM convened to discuss the implementation of the sister state partnership’s operational procedures and more importantly potential activities. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, by 2030 Indonesia could surpass Germany and the United Kingdom to become the world’s 7th largest economy. With the first Indonesian Chamber of Commerce in the United States, and now a sister-state partnership, Hawaii has positioned itself on the ground floor for a fruitful relationship with this growing economy.
“Tak kanal maka tak sayang,” Representative Ward quoted an Indonesian proverb signifying that Bali and Hawaii now know each other and are now affectionately bonded together.
“The two most beautiful places on earth are now Sister States,” Ward concluded.