President Joko Widodo has just been recognized as this year’s Asian of the Year by Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times. In an editor’s statement published today, the publication honored Indonesia’s head of state for both his “remarkable personal journey to the presidency” and “achievements in the service of his nation.”
The Singaporean publication considered the 58-year-old president as a figure who has shown “dexterity and nous” in navigating the country’s domestic politics and international affairs, which have, at times, been tugged at by many challenges, such as “fundamentalist and often-dangerous centrifugal forces.”
On the international scene, Jokowi is lauded for his capability to face strategic challenges in the region. The Straits Times pointed to Indonesia’s proposal of The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, an agreement that was endorsed and adopted by the leaders of ASEAN member countries at the 34th ASEAN Summit, which was held in Bangkok in June.
The Straits Times editors highlighted Jokowi’s “grounded personality, ability to connect with people and empathize with the common folk” as reasons why he’s so widely admired in the archipelago.
Jokowi himself took to social media earlier today about the recognition, saying that the honor is “not only for myself, but for Indonesia.”
Terima kasih. Ini kehormatan bukan untuk saya semata-mata, tapi untuk Indonesia. pic.twitter.com/01rskM4KTz
— Joko Widodo (@jokowi) December 5, 2019
This year marks the eighth edition of Asian of the Year Award, an annual recognition of an Asian or Asians who have made an impact on the continent over the past year.
In 2018, the editors of The Straits Times awarded the distinction to The First Responders, consisting of individuals and disaster relief organizations — including the late spokesman for Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho — and Jakarta-based Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre).
Previous winners of the award including the founding prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (awarded posthumously), Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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