US Embassy in Indonesia secures Gold Standard Award for Diplomatic Engagement

The US Embassy in Indonesia and its ambassador, Scot Marciel, have secured The Gold Standard Award for Diplomatic Engagement for their outreach work with key stakeholders in the country.

The ambassador and his team were recognised for their use of 21st century diplomacy tools “to bring the United States closer to the Indonesian people”.

The PublicAffairsAsia Gold Standard Award judges believed that Mission Indonesia’s multi-agency team, under Ambassador Marciel’s leadership, was at the forefront of implementing Secretary of State Clinton’s vision of “21st Century Statecraft”.

The honour was given at The Gold Standard Awards ceremony in Singapore, and was formally presented by News Corporation’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Joe Welch.

Mission Indonesia has used technological tools to rethink and reinvigorate efforts to reach Indonesia’s young people with information about the United States and the American people.

The Mission has integrated social media tools from the exploding online world of Facebook and Twitter in Indonesia with the in-person experience of an interactive cultural centre, @america, that redefines the model for person-to-person engagement.

Mission Indonesia has the largest Facebook and Twitter followings of any US embassy worldwide, with more than 330,000 Facebook fans and nearly 30,000 Twitter followers.  These platforms allow the Mission opportunities to interact with people like never before.

“The core roles for the Mission’s social media was to let Indonesians know what America stands for and its values, to generate discussion about topics as light as favourite American foods and as heavy as what steps can people take in our daily lives to protect the environment, and to fight climate change,” noted the entry.

The nomination, lodged by AmCham Indonesia, noted that Mission leveraged the preparations for President Obama’s November 2010 visit to Indonesia to engage an ever-growing Indonesian online audience.

It used a comprehensive campaign on Facebook and Twitter with creative tools such as a welcome message contest – that asked Indonesians the best way to welcome President Obama to Indonesia – and contests with ticket giveaways to President Obama’s public speech at the University of Indonesia. Through these innovations the Mission created an online buzz for the visit.

During the awards ceremony, Ambassador Marciel praised the Embassy’s outreach efforts.  He said: “I am pleased that this award recognizes the outstanding work of the Embassy Jakarta team in engaging Indonesians about the United States using innovative technology.”

In 2010, Mission Indonesia also launched the world’s first high-tech American Cultural Centre. Called @america it was intended to overcome misperceptions about the U.S. and to explain the goals behind American engagement, and Ambassador Marciel recognised that the concept must be seen as “a place for honest dialogue”.

In its first year of operations, @america has been a hit with the Indonesian public. As of 30 September 2011, more than 84,000 visitors had attended over 400 programmes, with an estimated 80 per cent of the visitors in the 15-30 age bracket.

Mission Indonesia won out against a strong shortlist which included The US Embassy in Korea and the French Embassy in New Zealand.

Also honoured at The Gold Standard Awards was The US Embassy in New Zealand, which secured The Gold Standard Award for Social Media Engagement.

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