President Joko Widodo recently welcomed 18 new Ambassadors to Jakarta as they presented their credential letters during an official ceremony at the State Palace. We have spoken to some of the Ambassador’s expectations of their time in Indonesia and the focus of their work in the years to come.

H.E. Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg, Ambassador of Germany to Indonesia

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 I am pleased to say that my family and myself are deeply impressed about the warmhearted welcome by the Jakarta population, the Indonesian government and the diplomatic community. This allows a smooth transition from my previous post in Teheran despite some bigger than expected hurdles in everyday life – traffic does need some getting used to. My wife and myself are enyoying the variety of cultural, culinary and leisure offers in this always busy megacity.

I am in the fortunate position to start as German Ambassador to Indonesia at a time when German–Indonesian relations are broad, deep, forward looking and based on mutual trust. We obviously see great potential in the economic area, Indonesia being the biggest economy in ASEAN and Germany among the three top countries in terms of global trade. In the field of foreign and security policy we look to Indonesia as one of the giants in the region and are seeking closer engagement. These issues are also part of the EU-ASEAN-relationship which we both have interest in promoting.

More specifically on bilateral cooperation, support in vocational training has been requested by President Joko Widodo. We are therefore intensifying our efforts. Other key elements on the bilateral agenda will be the strengthening of cooperation on climate change and forest protection with an already existing portfolio of nearly 2 Bio. Euro. As the number of Indonesian students in Germany has increased by over 40 % in the last four years thus making Germany the number 1 destination for Indonesian students in Europe I am keen to further promote the German language as well as the academic and scientific exchange between our two countries.

H.E. Gonzalo Mendoza, Ambassador of Chile to Indonesia

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 I joined the Chilean diplomatic service immediately after finishing my law studies at the Universidad de Chile, and spent two more years at the Chilean Diplomatic Academy. Since then –almost four decades ago- we have served in different places, mainly in Europe, but also in Latin America, and the United States, where I was Consul General in Los Angeles.

When I was appointed to Indonesia, my wife and I realized how lucky we were to have the opportunity to live in a region of the world so far unknown to us.

Indonesia is a country with whom Chile has had a long relationship for more than half a century, and we are aware of the relevance of its position as one of the key components of ASEAN and the Southeast Asian community. Therefore, Indonesia is significant for us, considering our sustained efforts to develop our relationship with Asia Pacific; a region which Chile is part of, because of its huge coast line and Easter Island, well situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Considering that our diplomatic relations are excellent, my first priority will be to strengthen the bridges and promote a stronger acquaintance between our countries.

In this context, it seems essential to me to work in the field of cooperation on areas of common interest. For example, Chile and Indonesia are both volcanic and maritime countries, sectors in which we can work together sharing our mutual challenges, knowledge and capacities in disaster management. Illegal fishing is another issue of mutual concern.

Our economies are largely complementary, with strong competitive advantages to enter each other’s market. Therefore, the low figures of our bilateral trade exchange are something we will necessarily strive to improve. From the Chilean point of view, an essential tool for expanding our trade will be to speed up the negotiation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Finally, with regards to ASEAN, I am extremely pleased with two milestones of our relationship achieved during this last year: Chile’s adherence to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and the signing of the Framework Agreement on Cooperation between ASEAN and the Pacific Alliance.

H.E. Peter MacArthur, Ambassador of Canada to Indonesia

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 Indonesia is a remarkable country and one of Canada’s most important partners in the Asia Pacific region. Canada and Indonesia are both vast countries featuring the world’s two longest coastlines and significant forests so crucial to the planet’s atmosphere and oceans in the context of climate change.

Our two countries value pluralism and democracy, and a commitment to sustainable economic growth through facilitation of small businesses, innovation and education to help build a stronger middle class.

I look forward to working with our Indonesian partners to further develop and optimize the exciting opportunities our bilateral complementarity offers in the areas of trade, investment, infrastructure, security and peace, including UN peacekeeping. One of our goals is to support transparency and due process in the rule of law so crucial to the business community, investors, tourists and other stakeholders in our important bilateral relationship.

The first Canadian Embassy opened in Jakarta in 1953. Since that time, Canada has enjoyed a positive relationship with Indonesia, complemented by our multilateral work together in the United Nations, G20, APEC and as a dialogue partner with ASEAN.

The two-way trade between the two countries increases at an annual rate of 20% and exceeded Cdn$3.5 billion last year. Indonesia is also one of Canada’s primary investment destinations in Asia, with Canadian job-creating investment in natural resources, high technology and services valued at Cdn$4.3 billion. Canada is also actively engaged in development assistance in Indonesia to support sustainable economic growth, democracy, good governance, and human rights. The two countries are also partners in addressing global challenges such as terrorism. Canada and Indonesia enjoy growing people-to-people links with thousands of Indonesians and Canadians traveling and studying in each other’s countries.

H.E. Dr. M.K. Sander Gürbüz, Ambassador of Turkey to Indonesia

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I was appointed as the Turkish Ambassador to Indonesia in June 2016. My previous overseas assignments over the past 35 years as a career diplomat include Germany, India, USA, Austria, Greece and Tanzania.

As a Southeast Asian economic powerhouse and the largest Muslim democracy in the world, Indonesia is a reliable partner for Turkey. We enjoy close relations with Indonesia based on strong historical ties and shared values. Our friendship and cooperation dates back to the 16th century.

Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Indonesia following independence. Our Embassy was opened in 1957. Bilateral relations were elevated to the level of strategic partnership in 2011. After the successful official visit of H.E. President Erdoğan to Indonesia late July last year, we were pleased to host H.E. President Widodo at the G-20 Summit in November and H.E. Vice President Kalla in the 13th OIC Islamic Summit held in April.

Our bilateral trade volume reached almost 2 billion Dollars in 2015. Turkish investment in Indonesia is around 200 million Dollars. We believe that the bilateral trade volume will further increase in the coming years, paving the way to the realization of its true potential. The number of visitors from Indonesia to Turkey has surpassed 55,000 in 2015. In the same year, 6000 Turkish tourists visited Indonesia. The Turkish Government has provided 532 scholarships to Indonesian students since 1992.

There is an ever-increasing demand and interest from the Indonesian society for Turkish language courses and Turkish culture. In order to meet this demand, we are working to open a Turkish cultural centre in Jakarta, in close cooperation and coordination with the Indonesian authorities.

It will be a pleasure for me and my wife to explore the many beauties of “Wonderful Indonesia’s” destinations and we feel privileged that we have the opportunity to enjoy living in Indonesia together with the friendly Indonesian people.

We also would like to extend a warm welcome to H.E. Osama al-Shuaibi (Saudi Arabia), H.E. Mohammed Abdullah bin Mutlaq Al Ghafli (United Arab Emirates), H.E. Ahmed Jassim al-Hamar (Qatar), H.E. Ahmed Amr Ahmed Moawad (Egypt), H.E.  Helene Steinhäusl (Austria), H.E. Helena Drnovšek Zorko (Slovenia), H.E. Anne Namakau Mutelo (Namibia), H.E. Walubita Imakando (Zambia), H.E. Yahya Ngam (Mauritania), H.E. Deborah Ho Ng de Cogley (Panama), H.E. Jose Renato Salazar Acosta (Colombia), H.E Yazguly Mammadov (Turkmenistan), H.E. Hinauri Petana (Samoa) and H.E. Clement Philip Ricardo Allicock (Jamaica).

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge is a previous editor of NOW! Jakarta. An experienced writer and avid bookworm.