The development of technology and digitalization has influenced various aspects of human life in almost every country. The impacts of technological advances also extend to the realm of interstate relationships, which consequently affect interactions between actors. This circumstance inevitably affects government's strategy in determining Indonesia's foreign policy. Responding to this phenomenon and changes that it brings, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia in collaboration with Center for Digital Society (CfDS) Fisipol UGM organized “Experts Meeting on Digital Diplomacy” on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017. This event specifically discussed the challenges and opportunities brought by the development of information and communication technology in relation to its impacts towards Indonesian diplomatic strategy.
According to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir in his opening speech, diplomacy must be able to answer digital challenges. The digital world is changing the participants and also encouraging the spirit of openness and transparency. Digital development has also created a source of new paradigms. Furthermore, he stated that diplomacy should be able to seize the realm of public information and provide information quickly, accurately and correctly. The same hope is expressed by UGM and CfDS, as an academic institution that provides education on the development of digital technology.
As the Executive Director of the Center for Digital Society, Dr. Nanang Pamuji Mugasejati stated at the plenary session, digitalization makes diplomatic strategy more efficient. Furthermore, digitalization is also able to optimize diplomatic budget.
The meeting, which was held in the Faculty of Social and Political Science, UGM, was divided into two sessions: plenary sessions and working group sessions consisting of three groups. Each working group discussed the conceptualization of discourse, evaluation, and the future of digital diplomacy of the Republic of Indonesia respectively. The meeting was attended by 30 experts in the field of diplomacy and information communication technology, and more than 100 practitioners consisting of observers, consultants, academics, information technology experts, public figures, and ambassadors, as well as the staffs from several embassies invited.
The results of the discussions from each working group will be summarized into policy recommendations submitted to The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its representatives, Azis Nurwahyudi, Secretary of the Director General of Information and Public Diplomacy from the ministry. The document will be used as a reference for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in mapping Indonesia’s diplomatic policies. In the future, more diplomats and ambassadors are expected to be able to take advantage of technological advances in pursuing their national interest.