in March 2003, while US President George W. Bush's plan to attack
Iraq filled the airwaves, a unique meeting took place at a hotel in
Jakarta. Five journalists interviewed nine senior Indonesian
economists. Widjojo Nitisastro came with some of his colleagues
from FEUI, who in the past studied economics in the United States
as part of the cooperative program between FEUI and UC Berkeley.
This program was supported by the Ford Foundation.
Suhadi Mangkusuwondo, Subroto, Julius E. Ismael, and Mohammad
Sadli. Widjojo sat between Saleh Afiff and Subroto, while Ali
Wardhana, Djunaedi Hadisumarto and Sri Hadi sat further
years these people occupied key positions in the planning agency,
in the finance industry, trade, mining, and transportation
departments, as well as Indonesia's representative at the IMF.
Widjojo introduced his colleagues, who replied with jokes. "He was
called our village headman," Sadli said.
evening these men described their experiences. After studying in
the US in the 1950s and 1960s, they served as lecturers at FEUI.
Later on they served in government assisting President Suharto in
managing the Indonesian economy.
Widjojo: Luck always plays a role in
history. FEUI has been lucky to have Prof. Sumitro Djojohadikusumo.
We were also lucky that in the early 1950s Suhadi Mangkusuwondo led
the student senate. When Prof. Sunario Kolopaking (FEUI's first
dean) resigned as dean, the student senate took the initiative and
sought out a new dean. They chose Dr. Sumitro. If it were not for
Suhadi and Prof. Sumitro, nothing would have been achieved by FEUI.
The course of events would have been completely different.
Suhadi: Prof. Sumitro was the only
economist with a doctorate in economics. The other came from legal
or social science backgrounds. There were also others with
doctorates, such as Dr. Saroso, but he was not really well known as
Widjojo: Prof. Sumitro headed FEUI where
most of the teachers were Dutch. Then, tension grew between
Indonesian and the Netherlands, as a result of the Papua issue. The
Dutch were planning to leave. Prof. Sumitro took the initiative to
find other professors to replace them, and he thought about the
United States. He considered that the continental and the
Anglo-Saxon systems each had its advantages and disadvantages.
Prof. Sumitro then contacted the Ford Foundation to get assistance
to finance the plan.
Foundation's Representative in Jakarta, Mr. Michael Harris, had a
good relationship with Prof. Sumitro. They agreed that Ford would
find an educational institution in the US to act as counterpart of
FEUI and would finance the cooperative program. Prof. Sumitro did
not nominate a university, but left that up to Ford. Ford selected
sent two senior academics, Prof. Paul Taylor, chair of the
Department of Economics, and Dr. Thomas Blaisdell, professor of
political science. In the US, Prof. Frank Kidner organized the
administrative side, including the selection of academics to be
sent to Indonesia, and the selection of students here.
selected to come to Indonesia included associate and full
professors and younger staff. They began coming in 1965. I remember
that their chairman was Prof. Leonard Doyle, who often argued with
Prof. Sumitro. So things didn't always go smoothly. The second man
was Prof. Leon E. Mears, who became an outstanding figure because,
together with Saleh Afiff, he wrote a book on rice marketing in
Indonesia. Another was Hans Schmitt, who was quite young. He had a
close working relationship with Ali Wardhana, because both had an
interest in fiscal and monetary studies.
and the faculty secretary, Prof. Tan Goan Po, were responsible for
selecting those who were to study in the US. There was an intake
each year. Suhadi, Julius Ismael, I and other colleagues left in
1957. We were the first batch. In 1958 Ali Wardhana, J.B. Soemarlin
and others followed. In 1959 Emil Salim, Saleh Afiff, Batara
Simatupang and others went. After that, a number of other students
followed, going to different universities.
Doyle, Prof. Malcom Davisson held the position of chair. He came
from a background in public finance. Later came Prof. Bruce
Glassburner, who stayed longer and had a wide network of
As to the
question what about Prof. Andreas Papandreou who taught at Berkeley
during that time and later became the socialist prime minister of
Greece, it can be told that he became the chair of the Department
of Economics at Berkeley after Prof. Paul Taylor. At Berkeley,
Prof. Papandreou taught a course in mathematical economics. I took
this course. At that time he did not show an inclination to become
involved in politics.
Widjojo: The students had different
interests. For example, Ali Wardhana was particularly interested in
fiscal and monetary studies.
At FEUI I began my studies in the business economics department. At
the time the department was involved in research on the marketing
of rice. Prof. Mears was looking for an assistant and I was
selected. When I went to Berkeley, I attended the School of
Widjojo: The choice of a field of study was
decided before departure. Berkeley looked for suitable
universities. They didn't make the decision for a candidate, but
offered a number of choices.
crucial for FEUI at that time was not just those who were sent
abroad, but also those who organized the program in Indonesia. In
1957 Prof. Sumitro left because of the rebellion in Sumatra and
Sulawesi. Prof. Djokosutono, Dean of the Faculty of Law, doubled as
dean of FEUI. At the practical day-to-day level, two people from
FEUI who had returned from studies in the US — Subroto, the
secretary of FEUI, and Mohammad Sadli, director of