A Closer Look
Quick and Deep Dives Into Countries And Issues That Matter
A Closer Look is back! Look forward to the time-tested quick but deep dives into countries and topics that matter, with leading, on-the-ground voices.
Plus, new this season: podcasts, Executive Roundtables, and other content on the central topic are added to the successful web series, making each iteration of A Closer Look your go-to for a solid overview on issues playing out in Asia, and affecting us all.
Most recently, A Closer Look focused on Indonesia. In February 2024, the people of Southeast Asia's most powerful nation elected a successor to hugely popular President Joko Widodo. In a webcast and a podcast featuring five guests from Indonesia, A Closer Look explores Widodo's legacy, and what Indonesians expect from their next President, Prabowo Subianto.
Jokowi's approval rating hit a stratospheric 76% in December 2023. Indonesians praise his domestic policies, like massive investments in infrastructure and social assistance programs. And though NGOs are saying the civic space in the country is shrinking because of repressive measures, this doesn't seem to concern most of the 275 million Indonesians.
On the world stage, Widodo’s legacy is a mixed bag, although he had plenty of opportunity to make his mark presiding over the G20 in 2022 and ASEAN in 2023. He has shown little interest in foreign affairs, frustrated that great power rivalries are dragging down his number one priority: economic progress.
One of his biggest economic successes is the export ban on raw nickel, of which Indonesia has more than any other country. It put the country in the crosshairs of Europe, which has been trying to negotiate a free trade deal with Jakarta since 2016. Indonesia and Switzerland have a free trade agreement in effect since November 2021.
What is Jokowi’s legacy, after ten years in power? Why do so many Indonesians regret he can't remain in power, even though he tried? Is Indonesia punching below its weight, being the most populous country and largest economy in Southeast Asia?
Both Widodo and Prabowo have the stated goal to create a ‘Golden Indonesia’ which radiates leadership and influence on the global stage and is one of the five largest economies in the world by 2045, when the country celebrates a century of independence. How does this ambition affect the region? What kind of partner will Indonesia be to us here in Europe, as we, together with other middle powers, try to find our place in the great power struggle between China and the U.S.?
Hear directly from Jakarta, with experts Yosifebi Ramadhani, who is involved with digital platforms informing young Indonesians –the majority of the electorate– on their country's politics; Fakhridho Susilo, who helps connect investors to the right people in the Indonesian government; and Gita Damayana, an expert on democratization and legal reform in Indonesia. The conversation is moderated by Remko Tanis, Programs and Editorial Manager at Asia Society Switzerland.
Watch the video to find out more, and learn about the speakers here.
In a special episode of our STATE OF ASIA podcast, hear Nimas Mega Purnamasari and Yoes C Kenawas in conversation with Remko Tanis about Jokowi's legacy, life on Bali, political dynasties in Indonesia, and why stand-up comedians in the country rather talk about the fictitious country of Wakanda than about Indonesia. More about the speakers here.
A Closer Look returns May, 21, 2024. Stay tuned! Subscribe to our newsletter.