Sixty years ago on 19 April 1955 Bandung, capital of West Java Province, made world history when leaders from 29 Asian and African emerging countries, most of whom had just gained independence from centuries of colonial rule, gathered to walk together and join hands in the First Asian African Confernece, determined to create their own future. This year, thishistoric moment will be celebrated in the 60th Commemoration of the Asian-African Conference which will take place from 19th to 24rd April 2015 both in Bandung and Jakarta, capital city of Indonesia.
At the press conference after a coordinating meeting at the Presidential Palace on Friday, 9thJanuary 2015, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno P Marsudi, stated that the government will invite 109 world leaders and 25 international organizations to participate in this special event. “For this special commemoration, we will present the theme :”Strengthening Cooperation” added Minister Retno.
The series of activities planned for the Commemoration are: official inter-governmental meetings that will take place between 19th to 23rd April in Jakarta as capital city of the Republic of Indonesia, while ceremonial programs and the pinnacle of the Commemoration will take place in Bandung, centered at Gedung Merdeka (the present Asian-African Conference Museum) where the historic Asian-African Conference took place exactly 60 years ago.
Meanwhile, grand side events such as the Asian-African Carnival, an Asian-African BusinessForum, and more will be held in Bandung, organized by the city of Bandung and the West Java Province” explained Retno P Marsudi.
On his part, Ridwan Kamil, Mayor of Bandung, said that he plans to make the 24th April 2015 apublic holiday so that everyone in Bandung can join in the festivities. Ridwan Kamil added that there will be no less than 15 events at national level that will build up to the pinnacle of the commemoration in Bandung. “There will be parades of over 100 participating countries showing each national costumes accompanied by lots of music of each country who are expected to bring their own cultural groups. This year’s commemoration of the Asian-African Conference will have lots of music and color, and it will definitely be most memorable,” added Ridwan Kamil.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s President , Joko Widodo stated that; ” This.is a perfect momentum forthe world to remember that Indonesia has played a fundamental role in global history, which wehope to rekindle through this Commemorative event ” stated President Joko Widodo.
Held in Bandung from 18th to 24th April 1955, the Asian-African Conference – later known as the Bandung Conference – marked the first time that 29 Asian and African countries gathered to join hands to determine their own future. Together they covered a quarter of the world’s land surface having a total population of 1.5 billion people.
The Bandung Conference was preceded by a preparatory Conference at the Bogor Palace, that was supported by leaders from India, Pakistan, Ceylon (Srilangka), Burma (Myanmar) and Indonesia in 1954, known as the Bogor Conference.
Those attending the First Asian African Conference were those who are inscripted in the Who’s Who of Asian and African history. They were among others, Soekarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India who came with daughter Indira Gandhi, Sir John Kottalawala of Ceylon, Muhammed Ali of Pakistan, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, U Nu of Burma, General Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Zhou En Lai of China and many more. And, to underscore solidarity among the nations, the leaders and delegates made the dramatic historic walk together from their hotels at Savoy Homann, the Preanger and the Panghegar to Gedung Merdeka.
Held at the height of the Cold War between the United States and Russia, – the western and eastern blocs – the Bandung Conference gained a big success both in formulating common concerns, preparing operational guidance for cooperation among Asian African Nations, as well as creating world order and world peace. The conference resulted in the Dasasila Bandung or the 10 points Bandung Declaration, in which most of the principles of the United Nations were incorporated, and which became the guideline for then still colonized countries in their fight forIndependence. It also became the fundamental principles in promoting world peace and international cooperation.