n the spirit of peace and global friendship, around 100 secondary school students from 20 countries around the world introduced their cultures during the International Festival of Language and Culture (ILFC) at Teater Jakarta in the Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural centre on Saturday.
The countries comprised Turkey, Tunisia, Jordan, Australia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Myanmar, Mongolia, Cambodia, Albania, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives, Georgia, Morocco, Germany, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Most of the students performed pieces from their own cultures. Indonesian students, for example, showcased angklung by playing two songs - legendary "Bengawan Solo" by Gesang and "Let It Go", a song from Disney's animated film Frozen.
Indonesian representatives also performed saman dance from Aceh, which received a resounding applause from the audience.
Other students performed pieces from other country's cultures, like Indonesians who performed Turkish songs and traditional dances.
The event was held by Turkish NGO Pacific Countries Social and Economic Solidarity Association (PASIAD) in collaboration with Yenbu Foundation Indonesia and Paramadina University.
Sixteen-year-old Alena Milojic, a participant from Germany, said the event was an opportunity for her to introduce her culture and get to know other countries' cultures.
"I am wearing traditional German clothing and singing a song from a popular band in my country, entitled 'Krieger Des Lichts'," she said.
Alena said she had decided to join the event because, like Indonesia, Germany had a diversity of cultures. "Some students usually make fun of people from other countries and I don't like it. That's why I want to be part of the effort to create global friendship," she said.
The 11th-grade student said she made many friends and acquired knowledge about other countries through the event.
"Before coming here, I knew Indonesia only by name. Now, I know the food, the language and the people." She said, adding that chicken curry was her favourite Indonesian food so far.
Alena said she hoped that children from all over the world would open their hearts to learn and appreciate the cultures of other countries.
The same sentiment was shared by a 15-year-old student from Tunisia named Aladine who sang an Algerian song.
"I want to introduce my culture to the world," he said, adding that he had been amazed by other countries' cultures presented at the festival.
Aladine, who wants to pursue his career as a singer, said he also had a great experience and met many friends.
"I hope I have another opportunity to perform in other countries," he said.
For the past 12 years, ILFC was only held in Turkey and presented a show with a cultural vibe. However, Indonesia had the opportunity to host the 13th festival.
IFLC Indonesia chairman Huseyin Kan said the event targeted around 1,200 audience members. "The preparation took six months and the participants are going to be in Indonesia for one week," he said.
Huseyin said that besides introducing their culture, the participants from other countries would be introduced to Indonesian cultures.
"Our goal is promoting global friendship among all people around the world without judging their cultures, languages or skin colors," he said.
Indonesian Culture and Elementary and Secondary Education Minister Anies Baswedan, who attended the festival, said he appreciated the effort made by the PASIAD for the event.
"It is essential to learn from each other, build friendships and, one day, unite for peace," he said.