After 27 hours in and out of airports, I made it to Jakarta around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18th (Jakarta is 11 hours ahead of the US east coast). I am here to help the British International School integrate National History Day into its curriculum. The entire school has embraced the program and will be the coordinating institution for Southeast Asia. The American International School in Singapore also will be starting the NHD program this year, as will international schools in Seoul. These schools will join Concordia International School in Shanghai which has been involved in NHD for three years.
I am pleased to see international schools participate. Most students in the US choose American history topics. Many choose local topics and share their stories with students from other schools and states at the national contest. With participation from the international schools, we will increase the number of world history projects and extend the learning process even further. Imagine students from Jakarta helping students from Alabama or Ohio learn about the history of Indonesia!
And a fascinating history it is. For many years, Indonesia was under colonial rule from the Portuguese, Dutch, British, back to the Dutch, and then the Japanese during WWII before its own revolution in 1945-46–a great topic related to this year’s theme of revolution. The islands were attractive not only to the Dutch and British, etc., but also to the Chinese and India who took part in the spice trade as early as 1,000 years ago. The people of Indonesia have a strong Muslim tradition due to the influence of Islamic Indian traders in the 8th and 9th centuries. As a result of these influences, the history is a cornucopia of different cultures and religions which make Indonesia a distinct area of the globe.
Please join me in welcoming the British International School to NHD!