Pak Fikry Cassidy is Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague. In 2009, he was among a select group of senior Indonesian diplomats invited to Clingendael for a major training programme.
In April, we talked with him about life in The Hague, lessons for young diplomats and of course, memories of Clingendael.
What are your memories of Clingendael?
“It’s been such a long time since I was at Clingendael, but still, there are things that I do enjoy reminiscing about as it was just like yesterday. Working in the classrooms, walking past the room with Ron Ton, looking out over the lake through the big windows, discussing our work with colleagues and also studying hard in the library are some few clear pictures jogging from my Clingendael memories which I cherish most.
I remember our group dynamics and analyzed issues at hand in different ways. Our methods were the same, but sometimes we ended up with our conclusions differently! To look at things from different perspectives is something I took with me, and even applied the same approach among my staffs when I was still working back in Jakarta."
How did you experience moving to The Hague to work for the Indonesian Embassy?
"I came back to The Hague for my diplomatic assignment in 2018, so now almost two years ago. Being in the Hague for two years is very far different from being at Clingendael for three weeks. Maybe it has something to do with the weather and I am blessed with the fresh winds flowing endlessly. Though my house is situated in Scheveningen, which is very near the beach, I soon realize very well why there are so many windmills in this country for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, after two years of my residence, I can say I have very well adapted by about 80% from the nature’s blessings.
Still, whenever I pass by the Clingendael Institute, or whenever I think about it, I sense a feeling of tranquility, of peace, of being able to unwind. I still held my thoughts very highly whenever I have a chance to walk by the park and the Japanese garden. But even when my eyes wanders on the little farm, where some animals are grazing around, like cows or some chickens, it’s the sense of calm that embraces you, and it translates to The Hague as well.
To me, The Hague is a very multicultural city, something I enjoy very much. People are friendly, even more so than, say, in Amsterdam. Many Indonesians or people with Indonesian heritage live here, and it has made my time more lively and colourful as if I never left my capital in Jakarta and made myself a sense of belonging as if being at home in the Netherlands."
What do you think of The Netherlands' role in international affairs?
"When I first came to Clingendael, whenever I passed through the Netherlands as a delegate member and prior to my present assignment, I always wondered how such a small country as The Netherlands could have such a big role in international affairs. After two years of working and living here, and interacting with Clingendael, different ministries, all the major IOs and other members of the society, I now appreciate the way the Netherlands’ approach - be it in politics, business or social, which are different from other countries that I held my assignment. For me personally, the Netherlands remains a very wonderful country filled with wonderful people. It is a country where hard work is valued, tolerance and impartiality are frequently served, talents are nurtured and appreciated and being open-minded and straightforward is a way of life. To have those kinds of characters, it is no surprise after all that the Netherlands has gained generous support and popular reputation in international politics and also in the EU!"
What are your lessons for Young Diplomats?
"In retrospect of my past and present experience, we are faced with so many uncertainties and extreme issues such as climate change, new pandemics, and other global challenges. In times of need, we have come to realize more altogether that we need each other. As a seasoned diplomat, we establish relations with other people of different cultures and backgrounds. We interact, work and find solutions together. But no matter where we go, we need connectivity and we must not underestimate it. For connectivity brings us closer in communicating one another, learning from one another, and getting more acquainted both personal and professional. Through relationship bonds and network, we carry our special task as a diplomat in a more meaningful way to help solve matters on world affairs . . . no matter the differences."
Clingendael and Indonesia: a special relationship in diplomatic training
Clingendael Academy provides training programmes for junior, mid-career and senior level diplomats from all over the world and so also from Indonesia. Since 2004, Clingendael Academy and Indonesia have had a very special relationship in diplomatic training. To date, over 920 Indonesian diplomats received training from Clingendael Academy or were involved in capacity building projects. The training components last from 1 week all the way up to 6 weeks and are not only offline but also online.
Tailor-made training course
Are you interested what possibilities Clingendael Academy offers? Please do not hesitate to contact us. Read more about our mission, methods and trainings in our brochure and check out our training programmes.