International Organization for Migration Indonesia: Listening is Key

Blog Post by: Caitlin Dobson

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The USC MPD Research Group meets with the Counter-Trafficking and Labour Migration Department of the International Organization of Migration Indonesia office in Jakarta.

There is a difference between hearing and listening. Even within the field of public diplomacy there is a difference between listening and active listening. Much of our research experience thus far has been to observe how well each organization with which we meet are hearing partners, communities, publics and other governments. As one of the key components to effective public diplomacy, it seems the International Organization for Migration in Jakarta is a prime example of what it means to truly listen.

IOM is an intergovernmental organization funded by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose main objective is to promote order in migration. A massive transit country for migrants, IOM Indonesia is one of the overall organization’s top priorities. Our visit with IOM Jakarta was time well-spent learning from the Human Trafficking and Labour Migration department about current projects and programs they have developed. Everything from regions of the world with which they work to digital engagement to education through human trafficking-themed comic books and documentaries, IOM seems at first glance to be practicing effective public diplomacy in most aspects.

What stood out most was how in tune they are with local communities and current issues with which they are dealing, especially partnerships formed with grassroots organizations and local NGOs. Through these partnerships they mentioned a number of ways in which they are utilizing their relationships to gain even more expertise and understanding on the ground. As an organization as big and multi-faceted as IOM, with more than 480 field locations worldwide, the importance of partnerships becomes even more vital in order to listen from the bottom up, to obtain and maintain the diverse wealth of knowledge for an organization such as IOM, and thus be more engaged and uphold effective public diplomacy.

Human trafficking within and outside of Indonesia is a convoluted and complex issue in and of itself, and IOM appears to be doing an incredible job in terms of its structure and individualized programs, with a multi-faceted approach. We look forward to implementing IOM Indonesia as a case study demonstrating effective strategies in partnership development within our final research report. Through this meeting we saw just how important and effective strengthened relationships between like-minded organizations really can be. Thanks to organizations like IOM, victims of human trafficking throughout the world really are being helped and heard.

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