“State-of-the-Art Statesmanship for US, Indonesia ”
Thursday 12 January 2012
@America center gives visitors a window into modern America and its accomplishments. Tech firms such as Google and Cisco have donated the latest in communications technology. (JG Photos/Lisa Siregar)
During his November visit, US President Barack Obama said the United States and Indonesia “are forging an even stronger relationship and deepening partnerships.” A new, high-tech cultural center is the latest example of the growing partnership between the countries.
Last week, the US Embassy officially opened @America, its first cultural center in Jakarta. The center is located on the third floor of the Pacific Place Mall in Central Jakarta. The ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 2 was attended by
Alfitra Salam, the Indonesian deputy minister for youth empowerment, and the US under secretary for public diplomacy, Judith McHale.
Equipped with what has been called Jakarta’s fastest Wi-Fi, all the high-tech features in @America are available to use for free.
McHale said she hoped the facility would make it easier for Indonesians and Americans to communicate.
Adrian Arie, head of the center, said they were working with large American technology companies like Google,
Microsoft and Cisco.
For example, Microsoft contributed several of its newly released Kinect motion gaming devices for the opening celebration on Wednesday night. And Cisco’s TelePresence technology has been incorporated into the center to
facilitate video conferencing.
Entering the state-of the-art facility, valued at some $2 million, is quite an experience. From the outside, visitors can see three big screens displaying videos related to the cultural center’s bi-monthly theme.
On opening night the screens were displaying images from the Sant Ocean Hall of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to go with the center’s first theme, Ocean and Marine Environments. The changing themes will be the unifying concept behind all of the activities the center puts on during those two months.
After passing through a security scan, lockers made of transparent glass are provided for guests to store their bags. You are only allowed to bring handheld items into the center. Once inside, you will see screens wherever you go.
Turn right, and you will immediately see Google’s Liquid Galaxy.
Equipped with seven wide-screen TVs, Liquid Galaxy is used to display Google Earth. You can view and manipulate maps of the earth, the moon and Mars in spectacular high-definition. There is a touch-screen keyboard that lets
you pick popular locations and a joystick to zoom in and rotate the images.
A few cities, such as New York, are already available in 3-D, which means you can virtually walk along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and look around in every direction. There are other features at the center that are definitely worth
There are touch-screen computers in the corner where visitors can play games or get quizzed on their knowledge of America. A digital photo booth is available next to the information center and there is a small auditorium that
can fit about 200 people.
During presentations or panel discussions, real-time video of the event will be displayed around the venue and on the center’s Web site, atamerica.or.id.
For gadget lovers, there are also 16 iPads available for use inside the center. And for those who have never had the chance to use an iPad before, the staff will happily provide a quick tutorial.
Even though it has only been open for about a week, @America has already hosted two presentations.
Last weekend it had a presentation on the discoveries of the Okeanos Explorer, a marine research vessel, and a two-day event, held in conjunction with EducationUSA, to provide students with information about studying in the
The center has also invited a group of prominent bloggers for a discussion about social media. Adrian said the center was planning movie screenings and music shows in upcoming weeks. He welcomed program ideas, which can be submitted through the center’s Web site.
@America is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and will be open throughout the holiday season.
SOURCE : The Jakarta Globe
PAGE : 12
LINK TO E-PAGE : http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/lifeandtimes/state-of-the-art-statesmanship-for-us-indonesia/410813