Dr. Dino Patti Djalal is Indonesia’s Ambassador to the United States, career diplomat, Presidential speech writer, youth activist, academic, and author of a national best seller.
He is known in Indonesia as Special Staff for International Affairs and Presidential Spokesperson for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – a position he held for 6 years from October 2004 to October 2010, which makes him the longest serving Presidential spokesperson in Indonesia’s modern history.
EDUCATION AND DIPLOMATIC CAREER
Dr. Dino Patti Djalal was born into a diplomatic family on September 10th 1965 in Belgrade, (what was then) Yugoslavia, the second of 3 children. The experience of being born in a country that no longer exists serves to remind him of the critical importance of maintaining national unity for Indonesia as one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries. His father, Professor Hasjim Djalal, was Indonesia’s Ambassador to Canada and Germany, and an international expert on the law of the sea. Hasjim Djalal is a key figure in the development of the “archipelago concept”, a legal innovation on maritime territory which dramatically – and peacefully - multiplied the area of Indonesia’s territorial sovereignty. The archipelago concept, rejected and opposed by maritime powers when it was announced by Indonesia in 1957, is now part of international law and is fully endorsed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
As a student, Dino Djalal was exposed to Islamic education (Muhammadiyah elementary and Al Azhar junior High) and western education - he graduated from Mclean High School in Virginia in 1981 at the early age of 15. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) and his Masters Degree in Political Science from Simon Fraser University (British Columbia, Canada).
In 2000, he received a Doctorate Degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, after completing and defending a thesis on Preventive Diplomacy under the supervision of distinguished scholar on Southeast Asia, the late Professor Michael Leifer. Dr. Djalal also completed the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s compulsory mid-career and senior-level diplomatic training – and graduated from both programs at the top of his class.
Dr. Dino Patti Djalal joined the Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia in 1987. His first assignment was as assistant to Director General for Political Affairs Wiryono Sastrohandoyo, a position which exposed him to the Cambodian conflict, the settlement of the Moro conflict in The Philippines, the South China Sea disputes, and the East Timor conflict.
He has been posted London (1992-1997), Dili (1999) and Washington DC (2000-2002), before being appointed as Director for North American Affairs (2002-2004).
Dr. Dino Patti Djalal’s first public and international exposure was when he served as spokesperson for the Task Force for the Implementation of Popular Consultation in East Timor in 1999. He was deeply distraught that the referendum ended in chaos and violence – just the opposite of the orderly and peaceful outcome that the Indonesian Government then had promised the UN.
During his diplomatic career, Dr. Djalal has initiated a number of policies :
Dr. Dino was the Indonesian Sherpa for the G-8 Outreach Summit meeting in Hokkaido, Japan in 2008. He was also the Indonesian representative of “the Leaders Network in Support of United Nations Reform” in 2005, chaired by Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson.
- The US - Indonesia Security Dialogue, an annual bilateral consultations on security and defense matters that was conceived in 2001, and has continued to this day. Significantly, this dialogue was started 4 years before Indonesia-US military-to-military relations were normalized in 2005.
- The Forestry-11 (F-11) process, a consultative process involving tropical rainforests nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America that began in 2007 to enhance their critical role as part of the global carbon sinks to mitigate the impact of climate change.
- He was also one of the architects of the Global Inter-Media Dialogue, a process co-sponsored between Indonesia and Norway to promote press freedom as well as religious and cultural tolerance, and conceived by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the aftermath of the cartoon crisis. The first Global Inter-Media Dialogue convened in Bali on 2 September 2006 attended by journalists from the western and Islamic countries. The discussions proceeded freely without Government intervention.
- The Presidential Visitor’s Program, an annual program for inviting Friends of Indonesia from around the world to visit Indonesia during the time of independence celebration in mid-August.
Apart from his official duties, Dr. Djalal’s greatest passion is in youth affairs.
Dr. Dino Djalal is the founder of Modernisator – a movement of like-minded progressive and reformist young leaders who embrace the slogan “service, innovation, excellence, openness, connectivity”. The Modernisator team boasts dynamic young leaders from various sectors, such as : Gita Wiryawan, Chatib Basri, Emirsyah Satar, Sandiago Uno, Lin Che Wei, Omar Anwar, Chrisma Al-banjar, Dian Sastrowardoyo. The Modernisator Manifesto (www.modernisator.org), which outlines a vision of 21st century Indonesia, was regarded by Asian thinker Prof. Kishore Mahbubani as “a bold message which embrace modernity and diversity. Its cosmopolitan message contrasts sharply with the message of the radical religious groups. If the Modernisator movement catches fire, it will further strengthen the open and tolerant nature of Indonesian society”, and by GE Chairman Jeff Imelt as “the best business vision he had ever heard” – both were guest speakers at Modernisator events.
Dr. Dino is also the conceptor of Generation-21, a program which aims to awaken and develop a sense of unique identity – and challenge – among the youth as the first generation of the 21st century – hence, the term “Generation 21”. The culmination of this program is a television show “Generation 21 : Asia Pacific Young Leaders Dialogue” which features 60 young leaders from 16 countries in the Asia Pacific (including Myanmar) engaging in a lively debate about the challenges of the 21st century and their possible solutions – covering geopolitics, financial crisis, globalization, conflicts, regional affairs, education, technology, entrepreneurship, climate change. The 90-minute television show was actually a condensed version of the 6-hour long discussions among the young leaders. While the stars of the television show were the participants, world leaders also took part to inspire them either directly in the studio or through video and written messages : President Barack Obama, Vice President Budiono, Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva, Kishore Mahbubani, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Tony Fernandez. The program was aired in November 2009 by SCTV, and was jointly produced by Modernisator, Asialink (Australia) and Mckinsey.
Since 2008, Dr. Dino has established the “Innovative Leaders Forum” to promote innovative leadership from all sectors of Indonesian society. The Forum has held a series of public seminars presenting emerging leaders in the fields of : local governance, education, peace workers, health, bureaucratic reform, entrepreneurship, moderate Islam, and climate change.
Dr. Dino has appeared on radio shows and toured Universities in Java and Sumatra to present the case for open pluralistic nationalism and a new Indonesian internationalism. A recurring theme in his speeches is the imperative for the youth to think for themselves and for their own time, and avoid the rigid dogmatism that was characteristic of the intellectual upbringing of the past. He has argued that the key to Indonesia’s success is to develop a mindset driven by opportunity, not fear; and that xenophobia, ultra-nationalism and radicalism are as destructive and distractive to Indonesia’s present generation as corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN) was to the generation of the 1980’s.
He also constantly reminds Indonesians that they now have a strategic luxury to live in the world where not a single state regards Indonesia as an enemy and conversely no state is regarded by Indonesia as an enemy. This presents a rare chance to make the whole world to be pro- Indonesia, and that the anti-west or xenophobic views still held by some quarters only leads to lost opportunities that harm the national interests. He has also encouraged the youth to creatively embrace – rather than shun – globalization, which he describes as the greatest force of the 21st century, just as Indonesians successfully embraced nationalism as the greatest force of the 20th century.
Within the bureaucracy, Dr. Dino has persistently advocated on the need for officials and observers to do away with excessive conspiracy theories and siege mentality, and to courageously fine-tune their worldview to the emerging realities of the brave new world. His favorite phase, one which he tirelessly points out, is: “Today, Indonesia is a different country in a different place in a different world”.
To promote a healthy nationalism, Dino has also produced several video clips featuring popular bands Cokelat and Samsons, which depict the activities of Indonesian peace-keeping troops in Lebanon.
Dr. Dino coined the phrase “Remarkable Indonesia”, which became the main slogan of Indonesia’s international public relations campaign, until today. In 2009, Dr. Dino produced “Remarkable Indonesia” film clips which aired in CNN, CNBC, Al Jazeera, BBC and other international stations.
AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES
In September 2010, Dr. Dino was appointed Ambassador to the United States, and took up office at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington DC, in the same building where in 1980 he worked as dish washer and janitor.
Nobel Laureate and President of Timor Leste Jose Ramos Horta issued a press release regarding Dr. Djalal’s new assignment to the United States : “President Yudhoyono could not have chosen a better man to represent Indonesia in the US. Dino is energetic, creative and belongs to the new breed of young Indonesian reformers who will lead Indonesia into the future.”
Dr. Djalal has vowed to evolve his office into a “hyper, hybrid, hip” Embassy. With over 110,000 followers, he has been called Indonesia’s first “twitter ambassador” (twitter : @dinopattidjalal) He has also been called the “Moonwalk ambassador” for doing moonwalks in a DC public school appearance and in business conferences (youtube search : Moonwalk by Ambassador Dino Patti Djalal).
As Ambassador, Dr. Djalal has pursued a number of initiatives, among others :
ORGANIZATIONS and PUBLICATIONS
- Advanced the US – Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership, the first Partnership of its kind between the two countries, signifying a new era of strategic relationship. While serving as Special Staff to the President, Dr. Dino had assisted President Yudhoyono to conceive and develop this US-Indonesia Partnership at the end of 2008.
- Organized the Guinness Book of World Record for the largest angklung ensemble, at the National Monument, Washington DC, on July 6, 2011. (Angklung is an Indonesian traditional musical instrument made out of bamboo) The event set the world record with 5182 participants playing angklung together.
- Together with Rabbi Syd Schwarz, promoted US – Indonesia Abrahamic Inter-faith coalition which led to a group of 24 prominent Indonesian and American religious leaders (Christian, Muslim, Jewish) undertaking a peace mission to the Middle-East to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Simon Perez in 2012. The group also gave a presentation on the results of their Abrahamic mission at the US Congress.
- Founded and organized the first world Congress of Indonesian Diasporas in Los Angeles on July 6-8, 2012, participated by over 2,000 Indonesian diasporas from over 23 countries. The “diaspora outreach” has now become the policy of the Indonesian government.
- Founded the International Conference on Futurology (ICF) in 2011, an open forum for officials and experts to discuss future trends on various subjects : geopolitics, business, world economy, military, information technology, cyber warfare, youth, energy, food, transport, architecture, etc. The Conference – free of charge and open to public - is now held in Jakarta annually; the second ICF in October 2012 was attended by 1,200 participants.
- Launched the American batik design competition in 2011, the first foreign competition to challenge fashion designers and graphic artists to design Indonesian batik with American style.
- Initiated a Speech Writer Training Program exclusively for Indonesian officials at Georgetown University. This very competitive program runs for 4 months and conducted twice a year – it also includes training at a local comedy school. The program aims to produce 100 high-quality Indonesian speech writers by 2014.
- Initiated a special presentation at the United States Congress on “Evolving Compatibility between Islam and Democracy”, on February 2012 to underscore the theme that Islam and democracy can go together in the 21st century. Ambassador Djalal has continued to speak about this issue at numerous Universities and thinktanks in the United States.
- Organized the first “Indonesia Investment Day” at the New York Stock Exchange in Wall Street in September 2012, opened by President Yudhoyono and attended by 11 Indonesian Cabinet Ministers.
- Facilitated the production of “The Philosopher”, the first Hollywood film ever shot entirely in Indonesia.
- Facilitated a wildlife agreement to protect “orangutan” between Dr. Birute Galdikas and Indonesia’s palm oil company Sinarmas. Dr. Galdikas is an international icon and life-long activist for the protection of orangutan, and the subject of an award-winning documentary called “Born to be Wild”. This agreement led to the adoption of “zero tolerance” and strict “no harm, no kill” policy to protect and preserve orangutans by Sinar Mas, Indonesia’s largest palm oil company. (Note : Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil producer)
Dr. Dino Patti Djalal is a member of the Governing Board of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, which was established by the Bali Democracy Forum; and a member of the Executive Board of the Indonesian Council on World Affairs (ICWA). He has recently joined the Board of Trustees of the World Resources Institute (WRI), an international NGO devoted to the environment, based in Washington DC.
Dr. Dino Patti Djalal has written many articles for domestic and international media, and spoken in various international forums, including the World Economic Forum. He has also written 7 books :
His fourth book “Harus Bisa !” has become a national best seller in Indonesia – some 1,7 million copies have been printed. The book contains political stories, anecdotes and leadership lessons from the SBY Presidency, taken from his personal diary as Presidential Spokesperson- the Jakarta Globe calls it “the best book on leadership in Indonesia”. Thousands of comments posted on Facebook have called the book “inspirational”.
- The Geopolitics of Indonesia’s Maritime Territorial Policy (Jakarta : CSIS, 1996)
- Transforming Indonesia (Jakarta : Gramedia, 2005)
- Indonesia on the Move (Jakarta : Gramedia, 2006); later translated into “Indonesia Unggul” (Jakarta : Gramedia, 2008)
- Harus Bisa ! (Jakarta : Red and White, 2008)
- Energi Positif (Jakarta : Red and White, 2009)
- The Transformational Decade (Jakarta : Red and White, 2011)
- Life Stories : Resep Sukses dan Etos Hidup Diaspora Indonesia di Negeri Orang (Jakarta : Red and White, 2012)
The book was turned into a television show by TransTV in 2009. Harus Bisa ! has been translated into English with the title “The Can Do Leadership”; it has also been translated into Mandarin, French, Arabic. The book is also used in the educational/training curriculum of Department of Foreign Affairs, the Indonesian military (TNI) and national police. In 2008, in commemoration of the Indonesian Centennial, the book was sent to libraries of High Schools, Pesantrens (Islamic schools), Higher Education and Universities throughout Indonesia.
Ambassador Dino Djalal have received a number of medals, awards and recognition :
- In August 2010, he received Bintang Jasa Utama medal from President Yudhoyono – one of Indonesia’s highest medal for distinguished service;
- In 2010, he received the MURI award for being Indonesia’s longest serving Presidential spokesperson ever;
- In 2010 and 2011 the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center named Ambassador Dino Djalal among the world’s 500 most influential muslims;
- In October 2010, Tweetlevel, a site that evaluates the level of influence, trust and engagement of a certain twitter account placed Dr. Dino Patti Djalal to be in the top 3 most influential tweeting Government officials in Indonesia;
- In 29 September 2012, he received the Distinguished Service award from the Who’s Who in the Asian American Community (WWAAC) conference, in Atlanta;
- In November 2012, he received the Global Innovation award from Emory University;
- In December 2012, he received the prestigious Indonesia’s Marketer of the Year award 2012.
Dr. Dino Djalal plays tennis, badminton, soccer, basketball, squash, and, since 2010, holds the rank of “pendekar” (Master) in Pencak Silat Al-Azhar, a popular form of Indonesian martial arts. He also likes to travel, collect gadgets, read, and listen. He is a dedicated runner : in 2011, he proudly completed his first marathon in New York in 7 hours, narrowly beating a 75-year old fellow marathoner.
Dino Djalal is married to Rosa Rai Djalal, and they are blessed with 3 young children: Alexa (7), Keanu (6) and Chloe (5) – they are dedicated students of Tae Kwon Do and not shy to use it on their dad. Rosa is a dentist, a graduate of University of Indonesia. She also runs an elementary school which provides education, free of charge, to children from poor families in Cilegon, the Province of Banten. In her new life in Washington DC, Rosa has been elected President of Muslim Women Association (MWA).