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Speech by the Vice Governor of North Sulawesi Province
Honorable Rector of Sam Ratulangi University, Prof. Ir. L.W.Sondakh, M.Ec. Ph.D.
Honorable Director of the Department of South East Asian Studies, University of Hamburg
Honorable Speakers and Participants
Distinguished Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
First of all, on behalf of the government and people of the Province of North Sulawesi, I extend a warm welcome to all the participants of the International Conference on “Gender and Women in the Era of Globalization” to Manado. I hope you all find this city conducive and supporting to the conference activities.
I would also like to express my gratitude, especially to the committee for the efforts that they have put in to choose this city as a location for having this important occasion. With the coming of more and more people from abroad in a meeting such as this, our region will be more prepared towards the World Ocean Summit in 2009. What’s more, this is also an important promotion for our city program to become a World Tourism City in 2010.
It is also very heartwarming to know that this program is a collaboration program between Sam Ratulangi University and one of the leading universities in Germany, the University of Hamburg. I do hope that cooperation like this will not only strengthen the relationship of the two universities but also can create a good relationship between our province and the city of Hamburg. Who knows that in the future we might establish other collaborations in different fields.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The theme of the conference “Gender and Women in the Era of Globalization” is also highly relevant to our regional development processes. I do agree that we have to give equal opportunities to all the people, particularly women. However, so far there have been only limited women activists that play significant roles in strategic positions. The current issue of women trafficking in our region (I believe this is also happening in other regions), for example, needs to be dealt with immediately. For the past few years the issue of women trafficking has become our government’s great concern. Thousands of North Sulawesi Women have been sold to Papua as well as to other cities such as Batam, Surabaya, Jakarta, and even to Japan. Thankfully, we already have our provincial law of human trafficking, but of course the trafficking of women cannot be stopped only by law but also by cooperation and coordination of all parties involved including intellectuals from academic fields. For instance, just several days ago, we could read in a newspaper that some teenagers were lured to be sold to other cities by irresponsible people. Fortunately, the plot could be prevented by the awareness of those teenagers and their families. Awareness raising and education on issues like this need to be socialized to all the people, particularly to women themselves. Other gender inequality issues, which are evident in the decrease of women’s health, poor education, malnutrition, and the like also require attentions and solutions. This in turn will help empower women in our development processes.
Therefore, I do hope that this conference will bring about useful insights, strategies, and ways out to overcome women’s problems as well as to empower them to the full of their potentials in this era of globalization.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finally, may I wish this conference run successfully and may all the participants, especially those from other countries have a pleasant stay while they are here in our beloved city, Manado. Thank you.
Manado, April 4th 2007
Vice Governor of North Sulawesi Province
Freddy Harry Sualang