Jakarta, 17 April 2012

AssalammualaikkumWr. Wb.

Your Excellency Linda Gumelar, Minister for Women Empowerment and Child Protection of the Republic of Indonesia,

IbuSranyaNatalegawa, Patronage of the ASEAN Women’s Circle,

IbuMahaswiSwajaya, President of the ASEAN Women’s Circle,

IbuTitiSoeharto, Chairwoman of the Indonesian Art Foundation

IbuNakisBarli, Chairwoman of Barli Art Center and the Indonesian Women Painters

Heads of Missions and International Organization,

Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me pleasure on behalf of the Secretary-General of ASEAN to welcome all of you to the ASEAN Secretariat.

Over the next five days, we will be hosting programmes on women empowerment, as well as discussionson entrepreneurship. These events will not only showcase and promote the richness and diversity of ASEANarts, butI am sure they will also highlight achievements and contributions of ASEAN Women.

You have created great synergy between the creation and evolution, preservation, and the promotion of our cultural heritage.

I have always believed in bridging ASEAN withour people, and I am glad to see how your presence and effort have also bridged the artists and their work, to the people.

The support of public figures like yourselves will continue to play an important role, in promoting our cultural heritage, and even prompting new approaches to traditional art forms.

I wish to refer to the 2012 initiative of Dr. SurinPitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN, whichaimsat promoting awareness and understanding between ASEAN and the states represented in all Missions to ASEAN by encouraging theorganization ofpeople-to-people events using the ASEAN Secretariat asa venue for such activities,includingits facility.

To respond to this initiative, I am pleased to inform you that there is a growing interest expressed by many diplomatic Missions to ASEAN to organize such activities in the near future at the Secretariat.

We are delighted and honouredto knowthat 70 established women paintersjoin us in this inaugural exhibition. From ASEAN, we have 45 artists from Indonesia and five from Thailand. And we also welcome 10 artists from our old friend and partner, Japan. I am sure art lovers have been looking forward to this exhibition for some time, andnow it is thetime for us to learn, and enjoy your work.

Culture can be a great driving force to unitepeopleall over the worldand by appreciatingour cultural arts,weshare and enrich each otherwith our heritage. Your efforts will help us accomplish the goals of the founding fathers of ASEAN when they built it nearly 45 years ago. The vision of regional stability and cooperation– which will bring peace and prosperity to our people –is still relevant today.

The ASEAN Women’s Circle is an important extension of ASEAN, ASEAN Secretariat, and our ideals. Towards this end, I look forward to seeing the fruits of your efforts in exploring and developing gender equality and the empowerment of women as stated in the Declaration of ASEAN for the Advancement of Women.

I also appeal forgreater supports from international organizations, and thepublic, as well as the private sectors to lend their support to our Women’s Circle. Help us reach out to our peoplein ASEAN andpeople beyond itwith a global mission of peace, friendship, and sustainable development for our population. As stated in Cambodia’s theme for ASEAN this year, we are “One Community, One Destiny.”

On this note, I wish you every success in your event, and I look forward to seeing more of you here at the ASEAN Secretariat.

Thank you.