INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE GENDER AND WOMEN IN THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION

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E-mail: adm_sastraunsrat@yahoo.com

Welcome Speech

Rector of Sam Ratulangi University

 

Honorable Vice Governor of the North Sulawesi Province, Freddy Harry Sualang

Honorable Director of the Department of South East Asian Studies, University of Hamburg

Honorable Speakers and Participants

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

At this precious moment, let us first express our gratitude to the Merciful God who has granted us with blessings and grace that we could gather here today to attend the International Conference on Gender Issues. Let me extend my warmest greetings and welcome to our distinguished speakers and participants, particularly those from abroad, my heartfelt welcome to our beloved city, Manado.

As some of us may probably know, there has been a Memorandum of Understanding between Sam Ratulangi University and the University of Hamburg in the academic field just recently. The International Conference hosted by the two universities today as well as the Student Forum held yesterday are the realization of the joined cooperation. And we certainly expect more programs to come in the near future as the implementations of our mutual understanding and cooperation.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In this era of globalization, where there have been rapid changes in various human aspects as a result of the global acceleration of information, communication, and technology, we really need to be prepared to meet the challenges driven by the global demands. One way is by empowering our citizens so that we can stand side-by-side and even hand-in-hand with citizens from other countries in all walks of life. This means equal opportunities for men and women in order to actualize themselves and to be fruitful citizens, able to address the increasing problems of the country’s development. However, this doesn’t really seem to be the case, especially in developing countries like ours. Women are still regarded as second class citizens in most places and regions, and only few of them could really play significant roles in strategic fields.

Trafficking of women, for instance, has recently become a national issue that needs to be solved immediately. Women abuses in households and workplaces are rampant and call for attention. Discriminations of women in workplaces are also not new cases and need to be addressed and given solutions. And I’m sure there are many other instances of marginalization of women in many aspects of their life, that need to be taken into account, despite the efforts conducted so far by many elements of society in reducing gender inequality; there’s more to be done than what has been done to date. That’s why, in my view, the conference today, whose theme is “Gender and Women in the Era of Globalization” as collaboration program between Sam Ratulangi University and University of Hamburg, is an important meeting and relevant to our country and regional concerns. I hope this conference can be an arena to address the growing issues of gender inequality as well as to find strategies for women empowerment in the era of rapid globalization. And more importantly, I sincerely hope that this auspicious occasion could be a stepping stone for further relationship and realization of program of the two universities in the future.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of Sam Ratulangi University I’d also like to express my gratefulness to the local government of North Sulawesi for the support given to the committee. My appreciation also goes to Prof. Dr. Rainer Carle, the Director of the Department of South East Asian Studies, the University of Hamburg, who together with Dr. Margaretha Liwoso, the Executive Board of the committee, has made this program possible. May I congratulate the committee for the success of conducting this international conference.

 

Finally, I wish all the participants a productive discussion throughout the conference and an enjoyable stay in our small but beautiful city of Manado. Thank you.

 

Manado, 4th April 2007

 

Prof. Ir. Lefrand Winston Sondakh, M.Ec. Ph.D.

Rector of Sam Ratulangi University