SOME 150 bloggers, students and young professionals gathered at one of Jakarta's gleaming malls on Wednesday to watch United States President Barack Obama deliver his speech live on television.

They were at @America, a new performance space and resource centre in the Pacific Place Mall.

Set up by the US Embassy in Jakarta, the centre is the first of its kind in the world.

It is part of a public diplomacy push to give Indonesians more information about the US and to generate goodwill.

When it is formally launched next month, the centre will have frequent lectures, debates and music performances.

At Wednesday's session, those present blogged and tweeted their reactions to the speech, and discussed the points raised with around 10 graduate students from the University of Hawaii through a live feed.

New US centre in Jakarta mall