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Ramadan at The Museum: When Diplomacy Is Not Merely By Humans

Ngabuburit” is an expression in Indonesia as an activity performed before it is time to break the fast time. To provide a choice of positive and educative ngabuburit event, the Management of the Asian-African Conference Museum organized a Ramadhan discussion at The Museum annually in the format of scientific discussion.

Holding the roles as educators and community servers, a number of lecturers of the International Relations Program of Parahyangan Catholic University (HI Unpar) were invited to be speakers at the event held on Thursday (30/5) at Gedung Merdeka, Bandung. The speaker from Unpar, Dr. Sukawarsini Djelantik, Sapta Dwikardana Ph.D., and an alumna of HI Unpar who now serves as Director of Information and Media Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Listiana Operananta. “It’s great to meet again with Mas Mangadar (Rector Unpar) who used to be my counselor, also Mas Sapta, who used to be my thesis supervisor. In the case of Mba Suke, we have been close for a long time, “said Listiana when starting the presentation session.

From the perspective of bureaucrats, Listiana explained the importance of the young generation, especially the Millennial generation (born in the 80s and 90s) and the Z generation (90s and over) to know not only but understand and have passion to deepen the use of ICT ( Information Communication Technology – Information and Communication Technology, abbreviated ICT) despite aspiring to become a diplomat. “I just have to learn more, ranging from social media ethics to more sophisticated technological mechanisms like IBM Watson and other applications,” she said.

According to her, as a senior diplomat, she views the use of information technology and the dissemination of information about the world as vital to the work of a diplomat. “It seems trivial, such as making a Ministry twitter or Facebook, just a glimpse post, but we need a lot of analysis like what will happen if the public knows this? How fast do we need to post ? “she explained. These things, she added, require analytical skills and decision-making as well as an understanding of the effects of social media. The procedure to disseminate the information is long.”

Listiana also said that in the middle of her work, she and Kemenlu are often asked for updates by journalists and citizens of Indonesia who want access to information on certain events in the near future. “Yesterday for example in Texas, there was a shooting … Many reporters directly asked us, what was the incident like? Or were there Indonesians around? Things like that need a quick but also appropriate response, “said Listi while sharing her experience.

The next session was continued by Dr. Sukawarsini, who explained how the implementation of technology changed the form of diplomacy that used to be a path from government to other governments through diplomats and embassies but is now undergoing an evolution that allows non-state actors to enter the diplomacy domain and influence the policy-making process. “Many experts have predicted this (technological developments) will happen, and I, as a generation who experienced” the Stone Age “until now the modern era is very grateful because our perspective got widened,” she said.

Referring to some references, Dr. Sukawarsini argued that with the opening of the possibility of multi-lanes and multi-actor diplomacy, even we as citizens who are not directly connected with the government can make international relations. ” Just look at the UN, for example, they actually use a lot of celebrities or influential individuals to become goodwill ambassador in conducting public diplomacy and disseminating understanding or introduction of programs implemented by the UN,” She explained.

The next The next session was presented by Sapta Dwikarana, Ph.D. who presented his research on “Transformation in the Era of Digital Diplomacy: Identification of Digital Diplomacy Posture in Indonesia”. At first, he did not find anything about “digital” matters in the Strategic Plan or the charts published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Well, I did not find anything about this, .. there is nothing digital. Does it mean there is no commitment to digital diplomacy? … It turns out I was wrong ! “he said.

Sapta then identified a section within the IKU that shows the Kemenlu strategy in Digital Diplomacy. According to him, in advancing digital diplomacy, the need for a strong political will from bureaucrats both in terms of budget and strategy, a fact also approved by Listiana.

The event continued with a joint discussion. A number of International Relations students received copies of Dr. Sukawarsini Djelantik’s publication entitled “International Communication in the Information Age and Social Change in Indonesia”, after participating actively in the question and answer session. The event closed when the Maghrib call to prayer sounded. The participants enjoyed takjil (snacks) as well as food for iftar(evening meal eaten after sunset to break the fast).