Current Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), His Excellency (H. E.) Dr Desra Percaya has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham, UK. Dr Percaya was named Doctor of the University (DUniv) on Thursday 11 December in the University’s historic Great Hall, in the presence of hundreds of graduands and their families.
H. E. Dr Desra Percaya has served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the UN in New York since February 2012. Prior to this, he was Indonesia’s Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, where he also served as a representative in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international organisations based there. One of the most successful Indonesian career diplomats of his generation, he has held many of the top positions in his country’s Foreign Service at Ambassadorial level.
During his current role as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, H. E. Dr Percaya has assumed various positions including Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Chairman of the First Committee (International Security and Disarmament), Co-facilitator on human rights treaty bodies, Chairman of the NAM Working Group on Disarmament , Vice-Chairman of the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Vice-Chairman of the UN Committee on Decolonization.
Through various roles H. E. Dr Percaya has been at the heart of formulation and implementation of Indonesian foreign policy for the last two decades. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Indonesia in 1986, holding various positions including Director for International Security and Disarmament and Spokesperson, as well as Chief-of-Staff in the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. During this time, he has been instrumental in negotiating peace agreements in Aceh and in advancing the cause of disarmament and human rights.
H. E. Dr Desra Percaya is already an alumnus of the University of Birmingham, being awarded a Master’s in International Studies (Diplomacy) in 1995. Prior to this he received a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Airlangga University in Surabaya and he followed his Birmingham education by completing his PhD at Durham University, UK. H. E. Dr Percaya was born in Malang on 20 April 1961, is married and has three children.
On receiving his honorary degree from the University of Birmingham, H. E. Dr Percaya said:
“I am deeply humbled to accept this honour by the University of Birmingham. My studies and interactions in the Department of Politics and with other faculties were highly impactful. I was also immensely fortunate to be taught by an inspiring and highly competent mentor, Professor David H. Dunn.
“The learnings were a critical enabler, leading to my current position as the Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. The University of Birmingham will always have a special place in my heart, and I can’t thank it enough.”
Professor David H. Dunn, Head of the Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham taught Dr Percaya during his Master’s year and has kept in touch with him ever since. He said:
“During his time at Birmingham it was clear that Desra was destined for great things. Not only was he gifted intellectually, he also displayed a measured confidence and effortless personal charm that ideally suited him to the career of diplomatic service that lay ahead.
“Not only has Desra excelled in his professional career, however, he has also managed to keep in touch with his old department at the University of Birmingham, remembering its role is his education as he passed each new milestone in his glittering career of government service.”
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