Indonesian Ambassador Leaves Mission with a Bang
As we bid farewell to the outgoing Ambassador of Indonesia, we remember the list of passionate activities His Excellency Hamzah Thayeb undertook during his tenure, and why we had recognised him as a worthy honouree of the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award.
Mr Thayeb descends from a proud family of diplomats who were part of Indonesia’s independence movement. While the Ambassador represents a very different country from the one his father used to represent, the proud feeling of fatherhood resonates very strongly within him.
His outreach work on strengthening the participating of Indonesian student network struck as being ‘impressive’ by the members of Grassroot Diplomat. Through his student initiatives, Mr Thayeb recruited several “ambassadors at large” to encourage a culture of soft diplomacy amongst young representatives. Uniting Indonesians under one flag is not an easy task. The country is split across three time zones and has 17,000 islands between Australia and mainland Asia in which there are 240 million people all with their own culture, language and tradition. However, this challenge only propelled the Ambassador in ensuring he fully reached out to his community members no matter where they were in the United Kingdom.
Mr Thayeb is a great believer in track two diplomacy, whereby ordinary citizens are deemed to be better and more effective ambassadors in increasing understanding and collaborations for the future. While there are only 1,500 Indonesian students in the UK compared the great numbers coming from Singapore and Malaysia, the Ambassador was an encouraging role model for his citizens and relays closely with his 7,000 people diaspora.
On 14th July 2013, Mr Thayeb visited the Indonesian Diaspora Network in uniting Indonesian communities in the UK. An effective diaspora is one that does not stick together but instead are able to engage in society and illustrate Indonesian culture and heritage through their way of life. For this reason, the Ambassador has had close working relationship with Indonesian diaspora societies in cities including Newcastle, Oxford and Manchester to get a clear message across to integrate and being role models for their country.
Mr Thayeb was very active in these societies. In fact, the Indonesian Students Association has 32 city branches and Mr Thayeb often attended general elections and working meetings to prepare yearly programmes on their activities on top of his other duties. His campaigns to strengthen these student associations accompanied him in every one of his diplomatic posting, adding a truly global approach to his initiative.
Mr Thayeb was so supportive of his student diaspora that he even attended their graduations when parents were absent. As a young man who attended his graduation alone, this was an experience the Ambassador did not wish upon other young people. As a Grassroot Diplomat, Mr Thayeb became a bridge between Indonesians and their respective host country by mentoring them and increasing understanding between the two parties. His commitment shone brightly through the work of his students.
Good luck, Mr Thayeb on your next posting and bid you adieu.