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Indonesia's new president: Megawati Sukarnoputri

July 23, 2001
Web posted at: 5:59 PM EDT (2159 GMT)

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Overview Who is Indonesia's new president following the ouster of Abdurrahman Wahid? Megawati Sukarnoputri. Challenge students to identify challenges that face Megawati Sukarnoputri and make recommendations to unify the country based upon democratic principles.

Curriculum connections: World History, Government, Current Events

Students will be able to:

  • Identify challenges that face Megawati Sukarnoputri, Indonesia's new president.
  • Make recommendations to unify the country based upon democratic principles.

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
Level 4 (grades nine-12)
Students understand how politics enable a group of people with varying opinions and/or interests to reach collective decisions, influence decisions and accomplish goals that they could not reach as individuals (e.g., managing the distribution of resources, allocating benefits and burdens, managing conflicts).

Materials article "Megawati calls for unity in Indonesia"
Internet access
World map or globe

Suggested time
Article and questions only: 30 minutes
Full lesson plan: Two to three classroom periods

1. Locate Indonesia on a world map. Inform students that Indonesia is a republic in which the president is the chief of state and head of government. On October 20, 1999, Abdurrahman Wahid was selected by vote of the People's Consultative Assembly for a five-year term.
2. Have students read the article "Megawati calls for unity in Indonesia" and ask the following:

  • Who is Megawati Sukarnoputri? How did Megawati become president?
  • What is Abdurrahman Wahid's reaction to Megawati being sworn in as president? What are some reasons givin in the article for his removal from office? What type of appeal do you think Megawati is making when she asks all parties to accept the "democratic process"?
  • Why are officials concerned about the threat of violence in Indonesia's capital? How do analysts expect Megawati to govern? What do you think might be some indications that a leader is a "puppet of the military"?
3. In President Megawati's acceptance speech, she says, "To all the people of Indonesia wherever you are, I ask let's look to the future and let's unite and develop and fix our nation as one nation." Have the students refer to the Web sites below to identify basic principles of democracy. Then ask: What are some recommendations based upon democratic principles that might help Megawati achieve her goal?
4. Share with the students the following quote by President George W. Bush: "We look forward to working with President Megawati and her team to address Indonesia's challenges of economic reform, peaceful resolution of separatist challenges, and maintaining territorial integrity." Then ask: How do you think the United States can help Indonesia address these issues?
5. Divide the students into three groups. Direct each group to conduct further research on one of the following issues facing Indonesia's government: Economic reform, separatist challenges and territorial integrity. Instruct each group to what extent are these issues affecting Indonesia's ability to achieve unity? Invite groups to share their information.

Have students make a list and prioritize the issues facing President Megawati. Then instruct each student to write a letter to Megawati identifying which challenges she should address first and why?

Students can research further information about Abdurrahman Wahid's leadership. Have each student compare and contrast Adurrahman Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri. Then ask: How, if at all, could Indonesia change under President Megawati's leadership? Explain.

Violence continues in Indonesia
February 27, 2001
Lesson plan: Political crisis in Indonesia
February 6, 2001
PROFILE: Megawati emerges from Sukarno's shadow
July 23, 2001

Core Democratic Values K-12
CIA -- The World Factbook 2000 -- Indonesia
The Ultimate Indonesian Homepage
Government of Indonesia

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