On June 6, U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Y. Kim and Grand Imam of Istiqlal Mosque Prof. Nasaruddin Umar participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of the American Space at Istiqlal Mosque, in partnership with Voice of Istiqlal (VoIST). This new American space is the State Department’s first American Space located in a mosque.
The initiative, led by U.S. Embassy Jakarta and Istiqlal Mosque, deepens connections between the people of the United States and the people of Indonesia. The Embassy and Istiqlal Mosque Management Board signed an MOU on April 6, 2023 solidifying this partnership.
This American space joins an existing network of 12 American Spaces across Indonesia. American Spaces programming focuses on five core areas: English language learning and teacher training; educational advising and promoting study in the United States; alumni networking, projects, and activities; cultural and outreach programs; and information about the United States.
“This American space in the Istiqlal facility is open to everyone. It will serve as a space for all Indonesians – Muslims and non-Muslims – who are interested in dialogue and collaboration,” explained Ambassador Kim at the opening. “This will be a platform for the local community to discuss global issues and shared values between the people of Indonesia and the United States,” he added.
“American Space Voice of Istiqlal serves as a platform to strengthen the ties between the United States and Indonesia,” said Grand Imam Umar. “We envision our mosque as set to become the center for Islamic civilization, national identity and the symbol of the advancement of the Indonesian people. It promotes interfaith dialogue and moderate Islam aimed at strengthening the relationship between the East and West.”
The space is a large, flexible room in the mosque library with books and access to online authoritative information resources, equipped with public computers, a projector and screen. It can accommodate about 40 people for in-person programs. Its outreach activities will focus on democracy, human rights, and diversity along with promoting education and skills-building for youth ages 18-35. It will also be a space to learn about the breadth and depth of American values, ideals, and culture, and a hub for information about exchange opportunities to the United States.