Fifty years ago, on August 8th 1967, leaders from five Southeast Asian nations, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, gathered to sign one of the most important documents in the Southeast Asian history. This document sets out five articles declaring the establishment of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which aims to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development and promote regional peace and stability. This historical document is called the ASEAN Declaration and is known as the founding document of the ASEAN. To commemorate this historical event, August 8th is considered as the birth of ASEAN and is celebrated every year by the ASEAN member states.
2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. In celebration of its golden anniversary, ASEAN will continue to promote regional peace and stability as well as political, economic and social cooperation among the countries in the region. To commemorate this historic event, the ASEAN National Tourism Organization has created a joint tourism program called “Visit ASEAN@50” which aims to attract international tourists to Southeast Asian countries. The campaign focuses on 50 best festivals and celebration in the 10 beautiful ASEAN countries. This campaign showcases the remarkable nature, culture and tradition of Southeast Asian countries.
Indonesia is among the ten Southeast Asian countries that promote this amazing campaign. There are different festivals and events that showcase the unique culture of Indonesia. These include the famous Bali Arts Festival and Jember Fashion Carnaval.
The Bali Arts Festival is usually held from June to July. It features various art exhibitions and cultural performances. Cultural events such as traditional and contemporary dances, traditional music or gamelan, traditional puppetry, Balinese documentary screenings, handicraft and painting exhibitions, and culinary festival will be on the list. Not only this event showcases Balinese culture, it also features a variety of cultural performances from all over the archipelago. No wonder this festival has captured many international and domestic tourist’s attention. This is a perfect time to enjoy the beauty of Balinese and Indonesian arts and culture.
The Jember Fashion Carnaval is arguably one of the biggest fashion festival in Indonesia. It has been held since 2003 by designer Dynand Fariz with different theme each year. The theme is usually inspired by global issues, for example the 2009 theme was called “World Unity” which, among others, were meant to remind us about global warming and food scarcity issues. This event aims to boost and develop participants’ creativity and skills in art and fashion design. It also gives the audience the opportunity to expand their understanding of local and international culture. Thousands of people attended this event in previous years. If you have a chance to visit Jember during this period, you should never miss the opportunity to attend this event.
By Nishrin Azzely QOWAMUNA, ASEAN Correspondent from Indonesia