Engaging the World
    Category: Issues & Ideas By : Aastha Saboo Read : 1185 Date : Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 05:26:03

    Courtesy of FPCI

    Dino Patti Djalal, 50, is a man with a notable career. He is a former deputy foreign minister, and former Indonesia ambassador to the United States, as well as a former presidential candidate. He also served as the presidential spokesperson for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 2004 to 2010. Dino has authored nine books and recently founded the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI). This organization promotes awareness of globalization, internationalism and openness. As U.S. Ambassador in 2012, he also started the Congress of Indonesian Diaspora, the first-ever gathering of Indonesians living outside the country. The congress now has 65 chapters around the world promoting business networking and philanthropy. Below are edited excerpts of a recent interview with Dino.

    What are the goals of your new organization FPCI?

    This organization’s mission is to bring foreign policy to the grassroots. We aim to become a credible, independent organization on foreign policy. We need to do away with phobia and anti-foreign sentiments. We will do this by going to campuses and local businesses and talking about confidence, and being open to globalization. We are pro-Indonesia but not anti-government. Our ambition is to have chapter in every university in Indonesia. Spread open-mindedness and optimism and put out a map of opportunities. We are passionate believers that Indonesia cannot become an important player unless we understand the whole world.

    Some predict Indonesia will become one of the world’s ten largest economies. As Indonesia’s economy grows bigger, this implies a greater global responsibility. How would you like to see Indonesia grow its international profile in the next five to ten years?

    There is a need to send the right message to the world that Indonesia is an open economy and we see the world as our partner. We need to push back against economic nationalism, although Indonesia is heading more or less in the right direction today. One asset we need to keep is Indonesia being the key country in Southeast Asia.

    Indonesia is a country that has always been quite active in its free trade agreements. How should Indonesia engage with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

    The first step is to find out the content of the TPP agreement and identify gaps with our legal and policy structure. It is also important to start making reforms possible while signing the entry into TPP itself, since there is real concern among TPP countries on whether signatures will lead to reforms or not. We need to ensure that our political will to reform is strong as we go in.

    Recently, you noted Indonesian foreign policy has demonstrated a more assertive nationalism stance. What are the implications of this?

    We need to create environment where we have more friends and less enemies. There is a lot of opportunity out there. We need to ensure that our foreign policy can be opportunity-driven, and the best way to do that is to have friends. Picking fights with neighbors for short-term goals is unnecessary and undesired. Indonesia’s credibility is based on principles. We can show our leadership based on authority that we have earned. Moreover, our respect is also based on what we deserve.