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Dr Hadi Soeastro talking at the USAPC Annual Washington Conference
Dr Hadi Soesastro, founding member of PECC, Executive Director of the Indonesian PECC committee (INCPEC) and international chair of the Pacific Trade and Development Forum (PAFTAD) passed away on 4 May.
Pak Hadi, as he was fondly called by Indonesians and others alike was one of the intellectual founders of regionalism in Southeast Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific.
Although he made his mark on the world as one of the region’s leading economists, Pak Hadi was a trained engineer, which perhaps explains his ability to construct his arguments and ideas that have stood the test of time.
His interests in PECC have been broad ranging from trade and investment in the region to climate change. The impact his work had on ASEAN, APEC and PECC is immeasurable. Not only because he was respected by decision-makers he worked with throughout the region but all the more so because of the generation of leaders he inspired and will continue to inspire through his writing.
While a distinguished economist from one of world’s leading developing economies, he did not shirk the responsibilities that come from joining the global community and was a tireless advocate for developing economies both participating and contributing to debate on issues of global importance. This is perhaps best reflected by his recent work with the Terrestrial Carbon Group trying to find ways in which developing countries could contribute to the fight against climate change.
Pak Hadi was a true believer in the power of the individual to contribute to change. Through his active participation and leadership in numerous academic and public policy circles he was an exemplar of a new breed of intellectuals not only observing the world we live in but also changing it for the better. In 2005, reflecting on PECC’s twenty five year history Pak Hadi wrote “PECC should again take the form of a movement of individuals who are interesting in pursuing a common objective…The movement should be one to prevent a ‘closing-in’ of economies, to fight against a mentality of isolation and insulation and to maintain the momentum of openness’ on the basis of the spirit of open regionalism.
In his most recent work, Pak Hadi’s focus was on building institutions to respond to the changing global environment. True to his belief in the power of ideas, his form of institution building included a strong emphasis on education and the production of knowledge. In his acceptance speech of an honorary doctorate at the Australian National University he said “the production of knowledge is a critical component of the process of regional community building. Universities and research institutions in the region must see this as one of its important missions, especially since many of the key challenges facing mankind today and into the future need to be addressed and resolved regionally and globally.”
Hadi leaves behind his loving wife Janti, his two sons Agus and Albert, ten much loved dogs and a regional community that would not exist without his efforts.
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