Casper Klynge; From Jakarta to Silicon Valley

Casper Klynge has been known as the Danish Ambassador to Indonesia for the past three years, but now he is moving on to new adventures in Silicon Valley as the world’s very first Tech Ambassador.

Ambassador of Denmark to Indonesia, Casper Klynge, is a busy man these days. Tying up his work in Indonesia while at the same time getting ready for his new job, and figuring out what exactly it means to be a Tech Ambassador, or rather Ambassador of Technology and Digitalisation, means travelling back and forth between Jakarta and Silicon Valley for the Danish diplomat.

The day after the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, Casper Klynge finds a little time to talk to ScandAsia about his new job and saying goodbye to Indonesia.

“I am really looking forward to starting my new job. I think it’s a great privilege to be allowed to work with a brand new policy area, and to be allowed to build something from scratch,” said Klynge.

Ties with influential companies

As a Tech Ambassador, Klynge’s job will be to promote Denmark as a digital pioneer country, help Danish companies and build and strengthen ties with large global tech companies, such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Alibaba Group and Microsoft.

Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anders Samuelsen, explained that these kind of companies influence Denmark as much as other nations do, and therefor it is important to build ties with them.

“This is the very right initiative, at the right time,” said Klynge.

Klynge explains that many tech companies, including a few of the really big players, have already showed an interest in Denmark’s new move and has contacted him to learn more and wants to meet with the Tech Ambassador.

Defining the rules

Although Klynge describes the traffic in Silicon Valley to not be much better than Jakarta’s busy and overcrowded streets, the new job will definitely be quite a change for the 43-year-old diplomat.

As Ambassador of Indonesia, Klynge has worked with a broad spectre of politics; everything from foreign policy to development cooperation, working with waste, water and energy, commercial spectres in helping Danish companies and a culture program. But no matter what, there are somewhat clear lines for what you have to do. That is not how it is going to be, working in Silicon Valley.

“It is going to be a completely different way we have to work. It is a virgin territory in the sense that nobody has done it before. We will be part of defining the rules of the game with these companies.”

Klynge explains that he still does not have a clear answer for how it is going to work.

”I think that is also a big part of the point. This is completely new and we will have to be a ‘learning organisation’ and figure out how to make this work the best.”

Goodbye to the greatest position

Although he is making history with his new job, Klynge does admit that he is a bit sad to leave Indonesia and his work there.

“Everyone who knows me, knows that I have become very attached to Indonesia. I think it is a totally amazing country, and an incredible embassy to work for. In many ways, it is one of the best jobs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Klynge enjoys the variety of political spectres he gets to work with in Indonesia, and that a country as small as Denmark gets to play around with the world’s fourth largest country.

There are also several projects going one, that the ambassador would love to get to finish. For example, projects on waste management and supporting a rainforest in Sumatra.

“We really have some great foreign policy tools for a country the size of Denmark. It is really something to be able to make such a big difference in a country as big as Indonesia.”

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