There are many facets to Arief T. Surowidjojo S.H., LL.M. ’84 — entrepreneur, legal expert, educator and political reformer in Indonesia. At UW Law, we are proud to call him an alumnus. UW Law enjoys strong relationships with alumni and educators across the Pacific, especially in Southeast Asia, thanks to the Asian Law Center and the school’s long tradition of sharing scholarship. Surowidjojo recently visited William H. Gates Hall on UW’s campus in honor of two momentous occasions.

The first was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between The Indonesian Jentera School of Law (Jentera), a law school Arief co-founded in Jakarta in 2011, and UW Law. The MOU creates a unique partnership for sharing best practices, advancing scholarship and hosting visiting scholars, faculty and students. This is in keeping with Surowdijojo’s strategy to cross-train legal minds and ensure that Indonesian law continues its development in support of democratic principles and economic opportunity. As of now, UW Law professors Mireille Butler and Elizabeth Porter are already scheduled to teach at Jentera.

Dean Lawson and Arief Surowidjojo sign the MOU.

UW Law Dean Tamara Lawson and Arief Surowidjojo signed the agreement to the applause of educators and administrators from both schools. Also in attendance from Jentera were Aria Suyudi, Vice Chairman of Organizational Development of Partnerships, and Professor Dian Rositawati, who is also Indonesian Programs Director and a Fellow at Stanford University. From UW Law, Professor Xuan-Thao Nguyen, who also directs the Asian Law Center, played a critical role in establishing the educational and scholastic partnership. UW’s Ray Li and Gigi Do, both with International Advancement, were also present to help steward and celebrate the partnership.

During his visit, UW Law bestowed an Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award on Surowidjojo in recognition of his outstanding contributions to legal reform and legal education in Indonesia. In short, Arief Surowidjojo built an infrastructure for advancing the state of Indonesian law from the ground up. The first building block was in 1998 with the founding of The Indonesian Law and Policy Study Foundation (YSHK), which immediately launched a law and policy studies center that has been actively involved in various legal reform efforts through research, advocacy and legal education and training. In 2000, Surowidjojo and YSHK co-founded, the leading provider of online access for legal information to Indonesians. The construction of a library and in-person study space in 2006 preceded the founding of Jentera in 2011, which has since become a pivotal player in driving legal change across the country.

Dean Lawson and Arief Surowidjojo pose with Prof. Xuan-Thao Nguyen and others.

In addition to his work in law and legal education, Arief has founded eight companies, chairs multiple boards and remains intimately involved with the legal education infrastructure and operations of the foundation, center and law school.