Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta has been named a “City of Culture” for 2018-2020 by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Wednesday (24/10) after it hosted two meetings in the past two weeks, the 8th Asean Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts Meeting and the 14th Asean Senior Officials Meeting for Culture & Art and Related Meeting.
An official ceremony for the award took place on Wednesday night at Yogyakarta’s famous Hindu Temple, Prambanan, where the Asean delegates also enjoyed a slew of traditional art performances by the delegates.
Home to many tourist attractions and over 100 festivals per year, Yogyakarta is the fifth city in Southeast Asia to bear that title after Brunei Darussalam’s Bandar Seri Begawan, Vietnam’s Hue, Singapore and the Philippines’ Cebu.
According to Hilmar Farid, the director general of culture at Indonesia’s Education and Culture Ministry, the country that hosts the meetings is allowed to nominate one of their cities to bear the title.
Yogyakarta’s nomination was approved by the Asean delegates during the meetings and by Asean’s dialogue partners Japan, Korea and China.
Yogyakarta was picked as a City of Culture because of its unique character.
“Yogyakarta is a perfect reflection of the Asean identity, of a plural and inclusive society,” said Ananto Kusuma Seta, the ministry’s innovation and competitiveness expert.
Ananto said the award “is a historic one” because it shows that other countries now recognize Yogyakarta for its rich culture.
As the titleholder, the city’s administration and the Education and Culture Ministry must now work together to strengthen cultural programs that will support Asean’s “Culture of Prevention” concept, first declared in the Asean Summit in Manila, the Philippines, last year.
The concept emphasizes the role of culture in shaping a peaceful and harmonious society and preventing extremism.
“We will do more international collaborations for our programs,” Hilmar said.