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A League of World First Ladies Pays Tribute to Women Through The Indonesian Arts

Probably the unexpected highest profile event during the recent 19th ASEAN Summit and the Related Summits on November 17-19, 2011 was not among the many programmes of the Head of States and International figures conducted at Bali’s Nusa Dua, but the Spouse Programme initiated by the Indonesian first lady, Mrs. Hj Ani Yudhoyono. This Spouse Programme was nonetheless an event especially organized for the chosen international female dignitaries consisting of: The first ladies of Vietnam - Mrs. Tran Thanh Kiem, South Korea - Mrs. Kim Yoon-ok, India - Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, Singapore - Mrs. Hong Chin, Cambodia - Mrs. Bun Rany Hun Sen, the wives of Asian Secretary General - Khun Alissa and of the United Nation (UN) Secretary General - Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek, and of course Mrs. Yudhoyno as the host of the event. The Spouse Programme, focusing on the artistic and cultural activities managed to give relax and comfortable cultural diplomacy amidst the diversity of political and social background of each country participating in the Summit.

The Indonesian First Lady has elegantly graced the Spouse Programme conducted at the famous Museum Rudana in Ubud Bali. Such big event, attended by the nine first ladies of head of states from the Asian Countries, the first ladies of the United Nation Secretary General and Asian Secretary General, was probably the highest profile event ever conducted at the Museum. The Spouse Programme initiated by Mrs. Yudhoyono was especially planned and organized solely for the spouses of Head of States and Delegation on 19th ASEAN Summit and the Related Summits on November 17-19, 2011.

Acting as the host for the big event was nonetheless but Mrs. Yudhoyono herself who, prior the event while on the go during the month accompanying the Indonesian president, Dr. Hj Bambang Yudhoyono to attend several international state summits, had to coordinate her team of organizers consisting a great number of people with different tasks from afar.

Constantly overseeing the progress of the planning, probably even while on the air, a few weeks ahead of the commencement of the program, Mrs. Yudhoyono had to make sure everything on the round would go perfectly. A number rehearses involving the presidential security welcoming each of the first ladies every three minutes preceded the main event, mapping the locations where to officially welcomed all important dignitaries and the First Ladies and other uncountable minute details were among what Mrs. Yudhoyono had communicated every minutes as all activities had to be perfectly timed and executed. In terms of traffic and logistic, perhaps the Spouse Programme was only overshadowed by the arrival and departure of the US President, Barrack Obama that paralyzed Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. The Spouse Programme practically crippled the traffic from Nusa Dua to Ubud for almost half a day during the event, as the combination of national security: president special forces, police and armed forces, in charge top-notch security, had to block all traffics to give ways for the presidential motorcade every three minutes and to make sure everything was secure to for the nine spouses of the world leaders prior, during and post the programme. Arriving at the vicinity, Museum Rudana, each First Lady was warmly welcomed by Mrs. Yudhoyono who was waiting at the end of rows of Balinese girls in their beautiful traditional outfit. The gamelan, played by skilled and musical Balinese women, accompanying the march of the each lady just added the sense of royal grandeur. They each shook hands with,kissed and hugged Mrs. Yudhoyono who looked glowing, gracious and elegant in her semi traditional and modern outfit. Mrs. Yudhoyono then adorned a freshly picked petal of frangipani flower that in Bali symbolizes purity, sincerity and beauty on the right ear of each first lady. Meanwhile hundreds of Balinese people were engaged in traditional activities, ranging from working on the rice field, performing art: traditional music and welcome dance, creating arts: sculpting masks, paintings etc. as well as, activities on traditional economic creative – all which really attracted the first ladies and dignitaries.

Boasting a massive permanent collection of top-notch 400 paintings and statues created by Balinese and other Indonesian maestros, and over 10.000 pieces of artwork, the Indonesia’s most comprehensive Museum Rudana was hailed to be the venue for such important program due to its readiness to represent the state’s rich cultural heritage. The main event of the day was a special curated exhibition entitled A Tribute To Mother’s Sincere Devotion exposing a world of women through the fine arts. Such theme of the exhibit, which will stay open until the end of 2011, sums up the messages from the artworks regarding the role and the participation of women in the progress of a society and the nation in various painting styles from the traditional to contemporary. Far from celebratory event, the Spouse Programme was much more of in depth cultural reflection and contemplation, shares and cares amongst these powerful women.

An exotic welcome drink, fresh coconut was served after all first ladies proceeded to the Museum Rudana Mr. Putu Supadma Rudana, the President of the Museum lead and gave arty talk to the First Ladies who were very intrigued by the artworks to the extent that they inspected the collection in the majestic building. All first ladies paid serious attention to the artwork as they strolled around the venue. “We are exceptionally happy to be entrusted as the venue of the programme that cements the cultural bridge between Indonesia and the participating countries. Now people of Asian countries and beyond can see witness of signatures specially carved by Balinese master carver on this huge rock”, he comments. During the programme each first lady, apart from receiving a cultural royal welcome in the Island of the Gods, also received a set of gifts consisting of a Deluxe edition of recently launched book entitled Bali Inspires, gold leaved teak wood carving entitled Dewi Sita – Glorifying the Sincere Devotion of the Mother, and an original painting entitled Dewi Saraswati – all were the courtesy of the Rudanas.

First Lady Signing The highlight of the Spouse Programme was when the spouses of the ASEAN leaders and the UN Secretary General proceeded to put on their signatures on the Inscription entitled Glorifying Sincere Devotion of the Mother symbolizing a recognition of dedication for the mother of the country’s towards her people and for hope for their contribution and commitment towards children and women equality and empowerment and world peace. So, while the head of states were hotly busy debating and discussing regional and world problems, politics and strategies on the table, Mrs. Yudhoyono lead the spouses to cement solidarity and diplomacy across culture through the artistic event. These Mothers of the Countries peacefully came to an agreement they signed about their motherly union as crafted of the inscription:

DEWI SITA (Glorifying Mother’s Sincere Devotion) When clear water descends to the silent Earth Mother’s sincere devotion blooms and fragrant love spreads Giving birth to peace and grandeur for the whole nation Transcended through this glorious true togetherness First Lady Signing the Inscription Memuliakan Ketulusan Ibu (Embracing Sincere Devotion of a Mother witnessed by the nine other first ladies.

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