President Joko Widodo, the former Governor of Jakarta who was inaugurated in October 2014 as the President of Indonesia, was invited as keynote speaker in the 2014 Southeast Asia Conference on Innovation for Inclusive Development.
The Universities and Councils Network on Innovation for Inclusive Development in Southeast Asia (UNIID-SEA) held the conference in Jakarta, Indonesia on 5-6 November 2014 with the theme “Making Innovation by All, For All Happen in the ASEAN Region.”
President Jokowi is the top choice for keynote speaker of the conference in view of his public record as a champion of the poor. There could be no better champion to bring home the message that the active and meaningful engagement of the poor is a prerequisite for real development in society. President Jokowi was elected president of Southeast Asia’s largest democracy by firing up the imagination of the poor in Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia in their own capacity to help transform Indonesia and share in the benefits of development. As he is often quoted, the dream that a person with humble beginnings like him could someday be president is now attainable not only in developed countries such as the United States but in developing countries like Indonesia as well.
The conference featured UNIID-SEA as a network of universities and research councils in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam over the past three years. It also highlighted the recent participation of individual inclusive development professionals from Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. It was co-organized by the Dewan Riset Nasional (DRN) and Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB).
The UNIID-SEA Project was presented through two videos – “Engaging the Base of the Pyramid in Southeast Asia for Inclusive Development” and “Building a Network of Universities and Research Councils for Collective Innovation Impact on Inclusive Development in Southeast Asia.”
A press conference was held after the President’s keynote speech, in order to immediately share with the media and public the key messages and initiatives on innovation for inclusive development featured in the conference. The forum served to promote the message and promise of inclusive and sustainable development from this part of the world, at a time when so many other regions are reeling from economic, political, and social crises.