On November 13, 2023, President Joko Widodo, commonly known as President Jokowi, visited Georgetown University, where he delivered his only public address in Washington, DC. The event took place prior to his summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, which marked the elevation of the U.S.-Indonesia relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Before assuming the presidency in 2014, President Jokowi built a reputation in public service, starting as the mayor of Solo in 2005 and later becoming the governor of Jakarta in 2012. Widely recognized for his hands-on governance and focus on infrastructure, he made history as Indonesia’s first president without a military or elite political background.
Georgetown Provost Robert Groves opened the event by highlighting the university’s legacy as a crucible for profound global discussions. Commending Jokowi’s notable achievements, Groves pointed to initiatives such as leading infrastructure development, advocating for environmental sustainability and supporting entrepreneurship, and advancing education.
Prioritizing Education and Unity in Diversity
In his address, President Jokowi laid out his vision, placing particular emphasis on the pivotal role of education in shaping Indonesia’s future. “Education is one of Indonesia’s top priorities,” he said. “The quality of human resources will be a determining factor.”
President Jokowi described Indonesia as a nation united by its diversity, guided by the principles of its founding concept, “Pancasila.” He underscored the importance of skillful management of differences to prevent conflicts that could jeopardize regional stability. “For Indonesia,” he said, “differences and diversity [are] a gift.”