Views from Asia on Terrorism, Security and Human Rights: Introductory Remarks
Dr. Hans E. Birke
President, BDLI (German Aerospace Industry Association)
It is a great personal pleasure for me to introduce Professor Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie to the International Workshop. After beginning his studies at the Technical University of Indonesia in Bandung, Professor Habibie transferred one year later to the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule in Aachen. That was the beginning of his brilliant career in Germany.
After graduating summa cum laude from the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Mr. Habibie became an engineer in Germany, addressing very demanding challenges on his way to becoming Vice President and Technology Director of Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm. Then, instead of continuing his career in Germany and, who knows, perhaps proposing ideas for aircraft even today's Airbus engineers cannot dream of, he was called back to his country.
In Indonesia he became an advanced technology and aircraft technology adviser to the Indonesian government, reporting directly to the President of the Republic of Indonesia. In 1978, he was appointed Minister of State for Research and Technology and remained in that office until 1998. During the 1998 Berlin Air Show, President Suharto announced his resignation, and, in accordance with the country's 1945 constitution, B. J. Habibie took the oath of office as president before the chairman and members of the Supreme Court of Indonesia. Though he stayed in office only 17 months, it was long enough to put in place a political, economic, legal, and cultural system that continues to shape Indonesia to this day.
Professor Habibie combines statesmanship with scientific excellence. He is a member of the Inter Action Council and an honorary member of all the renowned engineering societies worldwide, including the Academy of Engineering in the United States and engineering academies in Japan and Australia. Since he synthesizes political vision with scientific rigor, he is an excellent person to address the International Workshop.
Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie may be more intellectually interwoven with European civilization than anyone else in Asia; Europe, particularly Germany, is his spiritual home. But he is also a deeply religious leader of the Islamic world. For example, he is the chairman of the Indonesian Moslem Intellectuals Association. With the founding of the Habibie Center, he has clearly shown his commitment to furthering the cause of democracy and human rights. Who is better to speak about human rights, human responsibility, and human security in the context of global security and the war on terrorism?