Welcome to Indonesia, new UK ambassador

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(photo: IO/Raihan)

IO, Jakarta – The United Kingdom Ambassador for Indonesia and Timor Leste, H.E. Owen Jenkins, has commented he was impressed with the response of the Indonesian people when he was appointed to serve in this country: he found them extraordinary: “I was pleased by their very warm welcome. The people of Indonesia are extraordinary from that point of view,” he said during a press conference held in the British Embassy in Jalan Patra Kuningan Raya, South Jakarta, on Wednesday (14/08/2019). Earlier that day, Ambassador Jenkins submitted a Letter of Trust from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to President Jokowi at the Merdeka Palace.

Ambassador Jenkins replaced Former Ambassador Moazzam Malik, who finished his term in June 2019. A career diplomat, he joined UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1991. He has served in British missions in Turkey, Argentina, and India. In the latter, he was based with the UK government’s development arm, the Department for International Development (DFID). He also had a stint in Brussels as the UK’s representation to the EU. Jenkins has worked on diverse issues, from the Balkan wars of the 1990s to climate change to economics. He has expressed a consistent interest in international security, emerging markets, and the link between prosperity and sustainability.

Before his appointment as Ambassador to Indonesia & Timor Leste, Owen was the British Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was responsible for engaging at the highest levels in the region and internationally on issues such as the Afghan peace process, cooperation on counter-terrorism and bilateral relations. He was also the Director at the FCO responsible for South Asia and Afghanistan. His area of responsibility included Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan. He was responsible for overseeing all of the UK’s diplomatic engagement in the region, including the supervision of more 3000 staff and the use of an operational budget of GBP 120M+.

Jenkins was impressed with Indonesia’s wealth. According to him, Indonesia has something to be proud of with its geographical and ethnic diversity. “I see that Indonesia’s amazing wealth is a joy and pride for its citizens. However, Indonesia’s wealth is more than just its natural resources. It also includes its humanity,” he said.

Jenkins finds the freedom of expression in Indonesia under the auspices of democracy to be exemplary. It is a freedom that prioritizes the public’s security in the distribution of information. “It is a reflection of the history of how Indonesia has a balance between freedom of expression and public security. It is actually a challenge for all of us to find solutions for that,” he said.

Outside of his work, the new Ambassador enjoys reading. He enjoys almost everything, but he particularly loves novels, popular science, and history books. He is also active in outdoor pursuits, including climbing and sailing (at both of which he is rapidly being outclassed by his three children) and travelling. As a north Londoner, he supports Arsenal. (Raihan)