Building U.S.-Indonesia Mutual Understanding Since 1994

A Contemporary Analysis of "Bebas dan Aktif" in Indonesian Foreign Policy

Cordially invite you to an Open Forum on

A Contemporary Analysis of ‘Bebas dan Aktif’ in Indonesian Foreign Policy



Prof. Donald E. Weatherbee

 Donald S. Russell Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina,  USINDO Advisor


Adriana Elisabeth, Ph.D.

Director of Research Center for Politics, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences


Edy Prasetyono, Ph.D.

Head of International Relations Postgraduate Program and Executive Director of ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Indonesia


Thursday, March 17, 2016

09.00 am – 12.00 pm

Venue: Auditorium Juwono Sudarsono

2nd Floor, Building F

Universitas Indonesia, Depok

The principle of “bebas dan aktif” (independent and active) has been the bedrock of Indonesian foreign policy for over 60 years. It appears as a recurring theme in the foreign policy of Indonesian presidents from Sukarno to Jokowi, justifying policies from an undeclared war on Malaysia to sinking foreign illegal fishing vessels. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi’s Annual Press Statement of 2016 began with “bebas dan aktif” as the underlying thrust of Indonesian foreign policy for this year.

From one vantage point, the injunction of “bebas dan aktif” mandates a determination to participate proactively in the shaping of the local, regional, and global international order in a way to favor Indonesian national interests. In the case of President Jokowi’s government, critics have marked his foreign policy as a discontinuity in its perceived break with President SBY’s foreign policy and retreat from internationalism and commitment to ASEAN. Alternatively, the so-called discontinuity could be read as a pragmatic realignment of power and interest.

Can a principle so broad and general that embraces both President Soekarno’s revolutionary attack on the West and President SBY’s claim to a thousand friends and no enemies have any real informing value about Indonesia’s policy choices as it interacts with its neighbors, the region, and the rest of the world? In what areas of Indonesian foreign policy has this principle been applied? How have the various presidents of Indonesia, including President Jokowi’s current administration, interpreted the principle of “bebas dan aktif” in their foreign policy? Is the principle still relevant and beneficial to Indonesia in today’s international environment?

The United States-Indonesia Society (USINDO) in cooperation with the Center for Policy Analysis and Development (BPPK), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia (KEMLU) and University of Indonesia (UI) are delighted to host Professor Donald E. Weatherbee, Donald S. Russell Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of South Carolina and USINDO Advisor; Adriana Elisabeth, Ph.D., Director of Research Centre for Politics, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences; and Edy Prasetyono, Ph.D., Head of International Relations Postgraduate Program and Executive Director of ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Indonesia, in this open forum. Please join us for this informative event.

This event is open and FREE of charge. To register, please kindly RSVP HERE by  09.00 am, Wednesday, March 16, 2016.