Gunawan Wiradi of Indonesia for the Asia Lifetime Recognition 2018!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

During the opening ceremony of the Global Land Forum 2018, ILC Asia recognising the figures who have been acknowledged as the most influential and consistent in the struggle of land rights and agrarian issue. One of the figures comes from Indonesia, Mr. Gunawan Wiradi. 

Mr. Gunawan Wiradi is recognised to receive the Asia Lifetime Recognition Award for his outstanding commitment and consistency in promoting genuine agrarian reform for more than 60 years in Indonesia.

Mr. Gunawan Wiradi was born in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia on 28 August 1932, and spend his life residing in Bogor. He is the leading figure in the struggle of agrarian reform in Indonesia. He never gives up and continues to develop new ways of thinking on the improvement of implement agrarian reform.

As a student, Gunawan Wiradi (often referred to as GWR) was active in a number of organisations, including as a committee member for the National Conference of Students of Asia and Africa in 1955-56 and as the Deputy Chair for the Bogor chapter of the Association of Young Indonesian Athletes. During 1957-58, he was active as the head of the Agricultural Faculty Students’ Senate. He received many awards and recognitions during his career, such as the West Irian Satya Badge for his student writings on West Irian during the campaign to free the region in 1961. He studied at the University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Agriculture (now it is named as Bogor Agricultural Institute) in 1953-63. He also obtained a Master of Social Sciences at the University Sains Malaysia in 1978.

Gunawan Wiradi’s involvement in the agrarian reform movement began during former President Suharto’s new order era. He was appointed as the head of the committee responsible for examining the Basic Agrarian Law of 1960 at the Bogor Agricultural Institute. His work in the agrarian sector has been acknowledged internationally.

Gunawan Wiradi represented Indonesia in the country’s delegation to Kerala, South India, as part of the follow-up to the FAO’s World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD), conducted in Rome, Italy, in 1979. The results from this comparative study were shared at the International Policy Workshop on Agrarian Reform in Comparative Perspectives in Sukabumi, Indonesia, in 1981. The overall results of this workshop were summarised in a publication written by Benjamin White and Gunawan Wiradi in Agrarian Reform in Comparative Perspective: Policy Issues and Research Needs, SAE and ISS, 1984.

In 2006, Gunawan Wiradi was part of the Indonesian delegates attending the FAO’s International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD) in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Gunawan Wiradi’s consistency in working on agrarian issues has led him to be seen as the most influential agrarian figure. His thoughts and writings are a major reference point across sectors, popular with both academics and activists, and have been important in shaping agrarian policy in Indonesia. His largest contribution has been his thinking on agrarian reform by leverage, which has become a key principle in the Indonesian movement. His work has not only enriched our knowledge about agrarian issues in Indonesia, it has also encouraged auto-criticism. Gunawan Wiradi has published more than 270 pieces of writing in books, articles, manuscripts, and opinion pieces.