The Indonesian Cultural Event at the State Department on December 5, 2016, organized by AAFSW Program Chair Sheila Switzer, was like no other and to be remembered forever!
Members of AAFSW, VIP guests, dignitaries and high-ranking personnel filled the auditorium to enjoy an introduction to the “thousands of islands nation” of Indonesia, with its awesome natural beauty, unique cultural heritage, history of the first human shelters, harmonious life among its different tribes, Christians and Muslims living in unity, and agricultural operations that fill the markets each day with huge fresh supplies of fruits, vegetables and legumes. We also learned how the country’s factories, mines, fisheries and tourist industry bring in abundant revenue for the Indonesian people.
From the second we entered the auditorium, the Indonesian Embassy provided outstanding entertainment and learning experiences for all of us to enjoy. Colorful traditional costumes richly adorned with hand embroidery and intricate gold jewelry to complement each costume were a breathtaking sight.
Several dancers performed a unique, serene dance with soft melodious music and singing, and we were all transported to another dimension!
There were quite a few quizzes, and several guests received valuable prizes, but none compared to the one received by Sheila. In a traditional Indonesian ceremony featuring all of the dancers, performers, singers, and Indonesian Embassy representatives, she was presented with a Batak Ulos scarf, hand-woven and embroidered with a myriad of tiny colorful beads displaying a huge variety of different designs — a breathtaking piece of material art and one of a kind! A few days earlier was Sheila’s birthday, and this rare present from the Republic of Indonesia and its embassy staff was well-gifted to a very special, awesome, unique individual like no other, and for the perfect occasion as well!
Thanks go to our new AAFSW President Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, and to AAFSW’s Office Manager Barbara Reioux for all of the demanding preparations they completed, such as emails, badges, security lists, phone calls and endless services to help and assist everyone in the AAFSW organization. Thanks also to each and every person at the Indonesian Embassy, to the security offices of the State Department, and everyone who contributed this event that will be remembered with fond grand memories!
AAFSW Assistant Treasurer