The 37th AJI Frontier Seminar on “Indonesia’s Gastrodiplomacy in the Making: A Preliminary Study”

On October 12, 2021, the 37th AJI Research Frontier Seminar took place online. This time, we were honored to have a presentation from Dr. Agus Trihartono (Research Fellow and Co-founder of the Center for Gastrodiplomacy Studies at the Jember University, Indonesia). His presentation was entitled “Indonesia’s Gastrodiplomacy in the Making: A Preliminary Study”. He explained that gastrodiplomacy describes a country's attempt to take advantage of its wealth of culinary traditions to enhance its national brand and improve its image using food to help strengthen its so-called soft power. He explained that several Asian nations have used this method successfully, but that Indonesia, has yet to take full advantage of its diverse cuisine. It is the biggest exporter of coffee in Asia, and certainly the biggest producer of spices, and yet it has not become so well known for these products.

Dr. Agus told us about Joko Widodo’s plan called “Indonesia Spices up the World”, a new initiative to utilize Indonesia’s diverse cuisine to elevate the country’s international status. The target is to add 4000 restaurants selling Indonesian dishes across the world and greatly increase its spice exports which indicates that Indonesia’s Gastrodiplomacy is targeting economic success over identity promotion. However, the conclusion is that Indonesia still has to overcome three issues to succeed: scarcity in plenty, the overlooking of its national identity, and a lack of a pragmatic policies.

This extremely interesting lecture invited a lot of questions from the participants, on such topics as the export of processed foods and the Halal market potential. Unfortunately, there was not enough time remaining for Dr. Agus to answer all the questioners.

Dr. Agus Trihartono delivering his presentation
Dr. Agus Trihartono delivering his presentation

Please visit the following link for previous AJI Frontier Seminars: