The Asian-African Conference held in Bandung on 18 – 24 April 1955 became a very important event in the history of Indonesian foreign policy and a great occasion for the nation and the Government of Indonesia. It is so, since the conference was held only ten years after Indonesia announced its independence. Within a short time, Indonesians had their courage to propose as the host for such important international conference. The most important thing was that the conference ended successfully in formulating common concerns and in preparing operational guidance for cooperation among Asian African nations, as well as in creating world order and world peace. The conference bore the Dasasila Bandung, which became the guideline for the colonized countries in fighting for their independence. It also became the fundamental principles in promoting world peace and international cooperation.
In fact, the spirit of the Asian-African Conference becomes guidance and basic motivation, not only for Indonesian foreign policy but also for Asian African Countries. It also enhances the level of cooperation among Asian African nations, so that it makes their roles and influences in international cooperation become more active and more respected and creates awareness to motivate young generation of Indonesia and Asian African nations in order to play better roles and to gain higher prestige.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned, it is important if the Asian-African Conference with its event was maintained eternally in a museum where the conference was held, Gedung Merdeka, Bandung, a city that is considered as a capital city and a source of inspiration for the Asian African nations.
As a Minister of Foreign Affairs (1978 – 1988), Prof. Dr. Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, S.H., LL.M. often met and got involved in some discussions with the Asian African Leaders. They frequently asked him concerning Gedung Merdeka and City of Bandung, which was the venue of the Asian-African Conference. The discussions were always ended by their wishes to be able to visit Bandung and Gedung Merdeka.
Inspired by desires to eternalize the Asian-African Conference as a culmination of the most successful Indonesian foreign policy, its spirit of which had spread all over the world especially in Asia, Africa and Non-Aligned Countries, and also motivated by the wishes of a number of Asian African Leaders in visiting Bandung, Prof. Dr. Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, S.H., LL.M. deliberated his initiative to establish a Museum of the Asian-African Conference in Gedung Merdeka.
The idea was forwarded in the meeting of the Committee for the Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Asian-African Conference in 1980, which was attended by the Director General of Culture, Prof. Dr. Haryati Soebadio who came as a representative of the Department of Education and Culture. The idea was fully supported by other participants, including President of
the Republic of Indonesia, Soeharto. Thus, one of the activities of the 25th Anniversary of the Asian-African Conference Committee was to materialize the idea.
The idea of establishing Museum of the Asian-African Conference had been materialized by Joop Ave, the Executive Chairman of the Committee of the 25th Anniversary in cooperation with the Department of Information, Department of Education and Culture, the Provincial Government of West Java, and Padjadjaran University. The technical planning and its execution were carried out by PT Decenta, Bandung.
Museum of the Asian-African Conference was inaugurated by President Soeharto on 24th April 1980 as the culmination of the 25th Anniversary of the Asian-African Conference.
NAME, STATUS, CHARACTERISTIC
The museum was named MUSEUM OF THE ASIAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE, in order to memorize the venue of the Asian-African Conference that became the source of inspiration and motivation for the Asian African nations.
The Museum is established by the Government of Indonesia and it belongs to them. Based on the organizational structure and Joint Decree between the Minister of Foreign Affairs Number: 194/ 07/ VI/ 80/ 01 and the Minister of Education and Culture Number: 0185 a/ U/ 1980 dated on 25th June 1980, Museum of the Asian-African Conference was under the authority of the Department of Education and Culture and the management was coordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Provincial Government of West Java.
On 18 June 1986, the authority of Museum of the Asian-African Conference was returned by Department of Education and Culture to Department of Foreign Affairs, based on Joint Decree of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Number: 62/ OR/ VI/ 86/ 01 and the Minister of Education and Culture Number: 0419a/ U/ 1986. The museum is a museum of diplomatic political history of Indonesia.
RENOVATION OF THE MUSEUM OF THE ASIAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE
In the framework of the Asian-African Summit 2005 and the 50th Anniversary of the Asian- African Conference on 22 – 24 April 2005, initiated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, the display of the exhibition room at the Museum of the Asian-African Conference was renovated.
The renovation was materialized through the cooperation among Department of Foreign Affairs, Secretariat of State, and Provincial Government of West Java. The planning and the execution were carried out by Vico Design and Wika Realty.
To save, collect, protect, manage, and present for the public, all of the information related to the Asian-African Conference, its background and its development, which have connection with social culture and the role of the Asian African nations, especially Indonesia in the international life and political arena.
To collect, manage and present for the public all the books, magazines, newspapers, other publications, and documents containing details and information of the activities, role, and social culture of the Asian African nations and developing countries in the international life and political platform. The museum also facilitates researchers relating with Asia, Africa, and developing countries for education and scientific purposes for Indonesian people and youth, for the youth of Asian-African Countries in general, as well as providing inputs for the government to conduct its foreign policy.
To support efforts in developing national culture, and education of young generation, as well as promoting tourism.
To support efforts for creating mutual understanding and unity of ideas, as well as to increase the level of cooperation among Asian and African nations, and among nations in the world in general.
In accordance with its historical value, Museum of the Asian-African Conference is located in Gedung Merdeka at Jalan Asia Afrika Number 65, Bandung.
a. PERMANENT EXHIBITION ROOM
Museum of the Asian-African Conference has a permanent exhibition room, which exhibits collections of three-dimension objects and documentary photos of Tugu Meeting, Colombo Conference, and Asian-African Conference 1955.
The exhibition room also provides:
- The historical events that become the historical background of the Asian- African Conference; – The effect of the Asian-African Conference to the world;
- Gedung Merdeka from time to time;
- Profile of the participant countries of the Asian-African Conference that are performed in the multimedia.
Diorama of the Opening Session of the Asian-African Conference, 1955
In order to welcome the Delegates of the Tenth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1992 in which Indonesia had been chosen as the host of the conference and became the Leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, the diorama describing the Opening Session of the Asian-African Conference was made.
To support the activities of the Museum of the Asian-African Conference in 1985, Abdullah Kamil (the Ambassador of Indonesia in London) gave the idea of providing a library.
The library provides many books on history, social, politic, and culture of the Asian African Countries and others; documents of the Asian-African Conference and its preliminary conferences; magazines and newspapers donated from other institutions or gained by purchase.
Along with the establishing of the library, audiovisual room was set up as well.
The room is applied to perform documentary films on world condition until 1950s, Asian- African Conference and its preliminary conferences, and films about the culture of the Asian- African Countries.
The Museum of the Asian-African Conference escalates many studies regarding Asian- African countries and other countries. The museum also facilitates researchers and students to do research on domestic and foreign issues.
The Museum of the Asian-African Conference provides:
- Guiding, Guiding for visitors are given to both visitors from the government and public visitors.
- Temporary exhibition, The Museum of the Asian-African Conference arranges temporary exhibition in attempt to educate public regarding the implementation of foreign affairs and the history of Indonesia’s diplomacy. This temporary exhibition is also presented in other locations outside the Museum of the Asian- African Conference.
- Communities, The Museum of the Asian-African Conference has communities which are created and supported by the museum itself. Some of the communities are created on the purpose of increasing people’s knowledge on history, international politics and the concept of nationalism to face issues on foreign affairs in the future, both public diplomacy and citizen diplomacy. Some of the activities arranged with the communities are book discussion, film discussion, festivals, cultural clubs, exhibitions, etc.