Executive Roundtable: Will Indonesia Step It Up?VIEW EVENT DETAILS
[INVITATION ONLY] A Conversation with Indonesia Expert Ben Bland of Chatham House
On February 14, 2024, Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, will vote for a new President. Over 205 million voters will decide who succeeds Joko Widodo who, after ten years at the helm, cannot run again.
During this Executive Roundtable, we look at the plans the new President has. Will he continue to build on Jokowi's legacy? What even is that legacy? Will the country, which prides itself on its 'independent but active' foreign policy, take a different stance as nations increasingly mold alliances on issues rather than ideals?
A free trade agreement between Indonesia and Switzerland came into effect in November 2021, but a similar deal with the EU remains up in the air. Now behind other countries in the region in terms of trade with Europe, what is holding Indonesia back to punch up to its weight as the largest economy and most populous country in Southeast Asia? And what of the economic issues the country is battling out with Europe over palm oil and Jokowi's export ban for nickel, a crucial raw material for electric vehicle batteries of which Indonesia holds the world's biggest reserves?
Both Widodo and the frontrunner to succeed him, former general Prabowo Subianto, 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. What does it take to reach that goal? 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.?
In this closed-door Executive Roundtable, Ben Bland, director of the Asia-Pacific Program at Chatham House and former Indonesia correspondent for the Financial Times, will assess the outcome of Indonesia's presidential election of 2024 and its broader implications for the region – and the world. Ben is the author of the first English-language biography of Widodo: Man of Contradictions: Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia (Penguin Random House, 2020).
17:00 Roundtable starts
18:00 Drinks and networking
18:30 Event ends
Seats are limited so an early registration is recommended.
Ben Bland is the director of the Asia-Pacific program at Chatham House. His research focuses on the nexus of politics, economics and international relations in Southeast Asia, as well as China's growing role in the broader region and the contours of US-China strategic competition. He was formerly the director of the Southeast Asia program at the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based think-tank.
Ben is the author of two critically-acclaimed books on Asian politics: Man of Contradictions: Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia (Penguin Random House, 2020) and Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China's Shadow (Penguin Random House, 2017). He regularly briefs senior officials, parliamentarians and business groups on regional issues, and contributes opinion and analysis to many global media organizations including Bloomberg, CNN, The New York Times, Reuters, and Nikkei Asia.
In his earlier career, Ben was an award-winning correspondent for the Financial Times, with postings in Hanoi, Jakarta and Hong Kong, and experience reporting across Southeast Asia and China for more than a decade. He has an MA in Southeast Asian studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Cambridge.
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