President Joko Widodo’s apparent lack of interest in ASEAN is a result of his short-term and pragmatic approach to policy making, writes Randy Nandyatama. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have an important role to play in explaining ASEAN’s relevance and its connection to his political agenda.

Indonesia has taken a leading role in the promotion of human rights at the level of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To what extent does the development of regional mechanisms mean that human rights are accepted in the region? How does Indonesia’s support for a regional mechanism relate to its domestic human rights challenges? Dr Ken Setiawan discusses these issues and more with Associate Professor Dinna Wisnu in Talking Indonesia this week.

President Joko Widodo made an appeal to Southeast Asian unity in the face of regional instability as the ASEAN Summit kicked off in Laos this week. Dr Avery Poole writes that this may bode well for Indonesia’s traditional leadership role in ASEAN but we are unlikely to see significant progress on key regional governance challenges.

President Joko Widodo is often portrayed as more inward looking than his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This would seem to be reflected in the Indonesian approach toward ASEAN under Jokowi. But as Dr Avery Poole argues, the reality is more complex.