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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks at Reception for the @america Center

Judith A. McHale
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs 
Jakarta, Indonesia
December 1, 2010


Good evening. Thank you for joining us to celebrate the opening tomorrow of @america, the world’s first American high-tech outreach center.

From the earliest days of this Administration, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have sought to redefine America’s engagement with the world as one based on mutual respect, mutual interests and collective action.

Date: 12/01/2010 Description: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and Indonesia's Deputy Minister for Youth Empowerment, Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, Professor Dr. Alfitra Salamm cut the ribbon at the reception of the newly opened @america Center on December 2, 2010. [Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Jakarta] - State Dept Image

We believe that, at a time where citizens everywhere are more connected and more informed, governments acting alone cannot solve the problems which confront us or seize the opportunities which surround us. We are working hard to find new and innovative ways to expand and strengthen the relations between the people of the United States and people all over the world.

As I have travelled over the last 18 months, many people have told us they would like an easily accessible place where they can go to learn about the U.S. and interact with Americans. And I am happy to report to you this evening that we have chosen Indonesia to launch what we hope will be the first of a new generation of American cultural centers.

@america has been designed to engage young Indonesians and their families. Although the United States and Indonesia are separated by the vast Pacific Ocean, @america will use modern technology to bring our young people together to learn and cooperate on issues of importance to our nations and the world.

@america is different from previous American centers in four main ways:

First, we have put the center in a space where Indonesians already spend their free time – the shopping mall. By getting out from behind the Embassy walls, @america will be an open, inviting, and accessible place to explore and experience the best of America.

Date: 12/01/2010 Description: Indonesian youth attending the reception at the @america Center.  [Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Jakarta] - State Dept Image

Second, our operating partners have designed this dynamic, attractive, and interactive facility to appeal to young Indonesians. We are working with them to create unique programs and events to engage Indonesians in ways that they find interesting and compelling.

Third, it is customer driven. Indonesians actively use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with friends and peers. @america will also use social media platforms to engage with them, gather feedback about center activities and tailor programming to meet the demands of our audience.

Fourth, it is a center that embraces public-private partnerships. By partnering with American corporations, NGOs, universities, and museums, @america will showcase the best of the United States – our ideas, our creativity, our ideals, and our ingenuity.

We have partnered with many organizations and corporations to prepare for this opening. Tonight, I would like to recognize the contributions of those organizations and thank them for their support.

Google has provided @america with Liquid Galaxy, a truly incredible way to experience Google Earth and Google Ocean. It will be exhibited in @america for about six months.

Microsoft has provided @america with Xbox Kinect – the first gaming system that does not require controllers. Kinect is not yet commercially available here in Indonesia, but we will have one in @america.

Cisco has made it possible for people in the United States to meet with people here in Indonesia virtually, using its top-of-the-line video conferencing solution, Telepresence.

Thank you to all of our corporate partners for your creative and generous contributions.

Date: 12/01/2010 Description: U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Ted Osius with Indonesian youth at the reception for the newly opened @america Center.  [Photo courtesy of  U.S. Embassy Jakarta] - State Dept Image

@america will feature a programming theme, which will change every two months. The initial theme, oceans and marine environment, has given us the chance to work with some amazing NGOs, museums, and governmental partners.

The Sant Ocean Hall from the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History has provided beautiful images and interactive displays, so @america visitors can learn more about the importance of oceans in their everyday lives.

The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International are actively working on marine issues with the Indonesian people and government. These organizations are providing @america with graphics and information about their work, and will have programs in the facility.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – and its Indonesian counterpart, BPPT, recently concluded a joint exploration of Indonesian waters. Because Indonesia has the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world, scientists from our two countries are working to protect Indonesian waters, and the results of that work will be showcased at @america.

Thank you also to all of our programming partners for their help with @america’s oceans program.

Lastly, I would be remiss to not mention our most important long-term partner: Pacific Place Mall. Thank you for working with us to bring President Obama’s vision to reality.

I hope you enjoy your personal tour of @america and come back often to explore the United States through @america.

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