For laypersons, foreign policy may be considered as common sense, as well as International Relations. Foreign policy issues can easily be found in a variety of media, either international, national or local. By following the news reports in the mass media, even only one or two news pieces, people feel that they are knowledgeable about foreign policy or international relations in general. This assumption is not incorrect. First, foreign policy issues are indeed close to the people, and are part of everyday life. Second, this underlines the interest in foreign policy, because of the awareness that Indonesia cannot live on its own. Third, there is an awareness that foreign policy can have extensive impacts and ramifications, including into other areas, such as trade and tourism. Fourth, with the awareness, the public will also be able to understand that foreign policy can also determine the future of the country.
These were stated by Drs. Dian Wirengjurit, MA., in his public lecture titled “Foreign Policy and Its Implementation: Bridging the Gap between the Theory and Practice of International Relations for Community Learning.” The lecture was organized in the framework of FISIP UI’s 49th anniversary (dies natalis) at the Juwono Sudarsono Auditorium at UI’s Depok campus on Wednesday, 1 February. Drs. Dian Wirengjurit, MA. Is a a Diplomat and the Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran and to Turkmenistan (2012-2016), and alumnus of FISIP UI, Class of 1977.
In his presentation, Dian stated that consciously or unconsciously, with rudimentary and limited ‘knowledge’ from the media, many people believe that they have mastered foreign policy and international relations. It is thus not surprising that many people from different backgrounds and professions believe that they are capable of analyzing foreign policy. This is worsened with the emergence of “impromptu experts” from outside the domain of foreign policy who are invited to speak on this topic in the media. As a result, international issues often escalate uncontrollably in the public’s mind.
Dian added that knowledge and understanding of foreign policy cannot be obtained instantly from the mass media. Analyses of foreign policy can only be performed upon these two foundations: 1) scientific and academic knowledge acquired in higher education (universities); and 2) experience of diplomacy in international relations, both bilateral and multilateral. Only knowing one of these foundations will result in the analysis being unbalanced, even inaccurate. It is important that all relevant stakeholders of policy formulation to implementation understand the need for both theoretical basis and diplomatic practice in order that the implementation of tasks being clearly directed and accurate. For that purpose, the universities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as other stakeholders, should cooperate in drawing up a comprehensive curriculum of international relations, especially with teachers experienced in these two aspects.
On the other hand, the community is also expected to obtain logical and accurate information and analysis, so as to prevent unnecessary hubris in international relations. It is time that the public learn about the implementation of foreign policy and high quality analysis in the mass media. On the other hand, the mass media should also improve their quality by presenting analyses from actual experts, not ersatz ones.
In conclusion of his lecture, Dian stated that all professions should give mutual respect and appreciate each other. It is important to be aware that every profession requires lengthy education and training, as well as experience, to obtain qualification. There is no possibility of becoming an instant expert. “Only with these, all stakeholders will be able to contribute to advancing the implementation of foreign policy. The public will also learn, so there is no longer a waste of energy, mind, and time for useless and futile discussion of foreign policy,” said Dian.
The speech was also attended by Prof.Dr.Ir. Muhammad Anis, M. Met. (Rector of Universitas Indonesia), Dr. Arie Setiabudi Soesilo, M.Sc. (Dean of FISIP UI), Prof. Isbandi Rukminto Adi, M. Kes., Ph.D. (Vice Dean for Education, Research and Student Affairs of FISIP UI), Dr. Titi Muswati Putranti, M.Si (Vice Dean for Resources, Ventura, and the General Administration of FISIP UI), Deans and Vice Deans of Universitas Indonesia, academic community of FISIP UI, and alumni from the class of 1977.