Indonesian is the 10th language recognized as the official language of the UNESCO General Conference. Previously, there were six official languages of the United Nations (English, Arabic, Mandarin, French, Spanish, Russian), plus Hindi, Italian, and Portuguese.
"The Indonesian language has been a uniting force for the nation since pre-independence times, in particular, through the Youth Pledge in 1928," said the Indonesian Permanent Ambassador to UNESCO, Mohamad Oemar as he open the presentation of the Indonesian Proposal in Paris on the same day.
Oemar also said that Indonesian language is a link between ethnic groups in Indonesia. In a written statement received by RRI, Oemar explained that with more than 275 million speakers, Indonesian language has also goes international. It also has been included in the curriculum in 52 countries, with at least 150,000 foreign speakers currently.
Indonesia has been active in global leadership since the start of the Asian-African Conference (AAC) in Bandung, West Java in 1955. According to him, the AAC has become the seed for the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement.
"Indonesia has a strong commitment to continue its leadership and positive contribution to the international world. Including collaborating with various countries in overcoming global challenges," he said.
He gave examples, such as through Indonesia's chairmanship role in the G20 Forum in 2022 and ASEAN 2023. Oemar emphasized that increasing awareness of the Indonesian language is part of Indonesia's global efforts.
"(It is aimed) to develop connectivity between nations and strengthen cooperation with UNESCO. And that is part of Indonesia's commitment to cultural development at the international level," said Oemar.
Recognition of Indonesian at UNESCO, he said, would have a positive impact on peace, harmony and achieving sustainable development goals. "Not only at the national level, but also throughout the globe," said Oemar.
He also explained the reasons for the Indonesian government proposing Indonesian as the official language of the UNESCO General Conference. According to him, the proposal is one of the implementations of the mandate of Article 44 Paragraph (1) of Act Number 24 of 2009.
"The act concerns the national flag, language and emblem, as well as the national anthem. The government continues to improve the function of Indonesian to become an international language in a gradual, systematic and sustainable manner," he continued.
This proposal is also a de jure effort so that Indonesian can receive official language status at an international institution. He said that the effort is done after the Indonesian government de facto built pockets of Indonesian foreign speakers in 52 countries. (RRI)