Ambassador from Indonesia: Who is Dino Patti Djalal?

Saturday, April 30, 2011
A controversial figure in his own country, Dino Patti Djalal became ambassador of Indonesia to the United States in September 2010, despite calls from human rights groups for President Barack Obama to reject his credentials.
 
Born on September 10, 1965, Djalal was raised in a diplomatic family (the second of three children). His father, Hasjim Djalal, was Indonesia’s ambassador to Canada and Germany and an international expert on the law of the sea. He was also the first Indonesian student to attend the University of Virginia, from which he received a doctorate of jurisprudence in 1959.
 
Djalal was exposed to Islamic education (Muhammadiyah elementary and Al Azhar junior high) and Western education, graduating from McLean High School in Virginia in 1981 at the age of 15. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Carleton University and his master’s in political science from Simon Fraser University, both in Canada.
 
Djalal joined Indonesia’s Department of Foreign Affairs in 1987.
 
In the early years of his career, he was an assistant to Director General for Political Affairs Wiryono Sastrohandoyo.
 
In 1999, he was the spokesman for the Task Force for the Implementation of Popular Consultation in East Timor. The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network and the West Papua Advocacy Team cited Djalal’s work in East Timor as reason why he should not have been accepted as ambassador to the U.S.
 
According to the human rights organizations, “Djalal was a defender of the Suharto dictatorship, and his career involved him in brutal repression. While defending the Indonesian security forces in East Timor (now independent Timor-Leste), he would often attack human rights investigators and organizations. He sought to portray the violence there as civil conflict among East Timorese, rather than resulting from repression of resistance to Indonesia's illegal and brutal occupation.”
 
Following his work in East Timor, Djalal was posted to London, during which stay he received a doctorate degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, after completing and defending a thesis on preventive diplomacy (2000).
 
He then was sent to Washington, DC, before being appointed director for North American affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2002-2004).
 
From October 2004 until becoming ambassador to the U.S., Djalal served as international affairs special staff and presidential spokesman for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, becoming the longest-serving presidential spokesperson in modern Indonesian history. During this time, he was the Indonesian representative of the Leaders Network in Support of United Nations Reform in 2005 as well as Indonesia’s “sherpa” for the G-8 Outreach Summit meeting in Hokkaido, Japan, in 2008.
 
As an advocate for youth engagement, he founded Modernisator, a movement of young leaders, as well as the youth program Generation-21.
 
Djalal has written written three books: The Geopolitics of Indonesia’s Maritime Territorial Policy (1996), Harus Bisa! (2008) and Energi Positif (2009).
 
Djalal and his dentist wife, Rosa Rai Djalal, have three children.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Biography (Embassy of Indonesia)
Groups Urge Obama Administration to Reject Dino Patti Djalal as Indonesia's Ambassador (East Timor and Indonesia Action Network and West Papua Advocacy Team)

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