Indonesian Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Delivered Talk in IDIG Negotiation Module
On the 9th of December 2021, IDIG module on International Negotiation, led by Dr. Nicola Chelotti, invited a diplomat from the Indonesian Embassy in London to give talk about the life of a diplomat and negotiator. Professor Helen Drake as the director of IDIG welcomed Mr. Khasan Ashari, the Deputy Chief of Mission of Indonesian Embassy in London and delivered her opening speech and short introduction of Mr. Ashari to the class.
Prior to his assignment in London, Mr. Ashari served as Director of Junior Diplomatic Training Unit at the Centre of Education and Training, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has served as Vice-Consul at the Indonesian Consulate General in San Francisco, USA; Head of Section at the Directorate General of Multilateral Cooperation; and First Secretary (then promoted to Counsellor) at the Indonesian Embassy/Permanent Mission to the United Nations and other Organizations in Vienna, Austria.
Mr. Ashari is an alumni of Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia and the Australian National University.
Mr. Khasan Ashari delivered his presentation to around 35 IDIG’s masters students from many different countries. He started the talk by illustrating his journey into diplomacy and updating the class about current issues in Indonesia’s foreign policy. He then explained more in detail the functions of a diplomat according to the 1961 Vienna Convention, and gave a vivid demonstration of how these functions translate into the daily working of an embassy. Further, Mr. Ashari elaborated on the necessary skills to become a diplomat – one of the most important one being the capacity to negotiate skillfully, that is, to present and debate issues in an effective, way, as well as to understand various point of views to reach consensus.
Mr. Ashari highlighted that international negotiations often consist of many layers, because before the diplomats can negotiate in the international level, they first need to negotiate with domestic stakeholders such as the different ministries to reach an agreed national position. He also explained that multilateral negotiations are generally more complex than the bilateral ones, where less parties are involved, and issues are more specific and focused.
Based on his experience, he also shared the real-life challenges of international negotiations, such as the cultural differences among different delegates from various countries. He highlighted the need to adopt and adjust to these different styles, to maximize success in the negotiation process. One practical challenge of multilateral diplomacy (that many commentators hardly consider) is that negotiations often occur in distant parts of the world – far away from your own capital. For example, during the COP 26 in Glasgow, the Indonesian delegation faced 6 to 7 hours-time differences between the UK, where the embassy is stationed, and Indonesia, where the Indonesian government agencies are located. This time difference sometimes complicates the coordination process embedded in every international negotiation and gave agency to individual negotiators participating in the international conference.
The presentation was followed by Q&A session where students asked many interesting questions, from the different negotiation style adopted by diplomats from different countries, to the biggest challenge faced by ASEAN today. From this talk and Q&A session student were able to learn from the analysis of diplomacy and international negotiations and from the interesting examples shared by the speaker.
The talk and Q&A were followed by an informal reception where everyone enjoyed drinks, light lunches and continued the discussions with the speaker in a more informal and interactive setting.
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