Indonesian Ambassador Roeslani visits OSU, Spears School
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
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His Excellency Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, the sitting Indonesian Ambassador to the United States, was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellows Program while visiting his alma mater last week.
The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellows Program is named for the former OSU president from 1928-50 who made outstanding contributions to the university, higher education and later, the world at large as the head of President Harry Truman’s Point Four Program.
The fellowship is bestowed on those who have made advancements in global business, government or academics. Previous honorees include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, and OSU alumnus and former South Korean Prime Minister Dr. Duck-Woo Nam.
Roeslani, 53, began his journey into international business and diplomacy during his time in Stillwater as an undergraduate from 1988-92, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in general business and management with a minor in finance. Roeslani counts Barry Sanders’ run to the 1988 Heisman Trophy and watching coach Eddie Sutton’s Cowboy basketball team in Gallagher-Iba Arena as some of his fondest memories at OSU.
“I got a very good education here, and I have a lot of good memories,” Roeslani said. “Because of Oklahoma State University, I’m here as an ambassador to the U.S., and I’m very grateful.”
After studying in the Spears School of Business and receiving his OSU degree, he went on to earn his MBA from European University in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1994 before diving into the world of finance. In 1997, Roeslani co-founded a company now known as the Recapital Group, which has grown into one of the world’s top asset management and investment companies with a portfolio that includes everything from banking to communications.
Roeslani credits his stay as the chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 2015-21 as the key to him jumping from the business world into diplomacy. That position required Roeslani to meet regularly with the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, who shared Roeslani’s vision of strengthening Indonesia’s relationship with the United States in terms of trade, investment and human capital. He asked Roeslani to serve as his ambassador to the U.S. in 2021.
“Since I came from the private sector, I try to bring a different perspective into diplomacy,” Roeslani said. “There are similarities in both worlds because both are in sales. I enjoy meeting a lot of people, and luckily I get all the support from the embassy and consulate. They help me reach my targets and my goals.”
Roeslani’s goal is $60 billion in two-way trade between Indonesia and the United States by 2024. He says that figure has increased significantly during his ambassadorship — up 36% last year — and investments are up 74%. The United States is now the second largest trade partner for Indonesia and the fourth largest foreign investor in the country.
A country of 217 million people, Indonesia also has a goal of raising its skilled labor force. Roeslani has been working with U.S. companies to incentivize worker programs, and he has a goal of raising the number of Indonesian college students studying abroad in the U.S. by 2,000 during by the end of his first term.
Last month alone, Roeslani held discussions with world leaders on clean energy solutions, attended the United Nations General Assembly and rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever get to be a part of activities like this, but it was always my goal to ring the bell on the New York Stock Exchange,” Roeslani said. “I was very honored.”
Roeslani is an avid sports fan and has served as the chairman of the Indonesian Weightlifting Association for the past six years. He was the Chief de Mission for the Indonesian Olympic Team during the Tokyo games in 2021, and has been a part of the ownership groups for professional soccer teams Inter Milan in Italy and D.C. United in the United States.
He and his wife, Ayu Heni Rosan, have three children.