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Topic / Development and Economic Growth

Interview with the former Indonesian Minister of Trade Gita Wirjawan: Southeast Asia’s Future

On April 23, 2024, HKS Student Policy Review Senior Editor John McQuillan spoke with Gita Wirjawan. The conversation focused on a range of topics related to the future of Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

Gita Wirjawan’s public service has included positions as Indonesia’s minister of trade, chairman of its Investment Coordinating Board, and chair of a 159-nation WTO ministerial conference in 2012 that focused on easing global trade barriers. He led his country’s national badminton association from 2012 to 2016 when Indonesia won three gold medals at the World Championships, four titles at the All England Championships, and one gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

As an investment banker, he has held key appointments at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, where he led many mergers, corporate restructuring, corporate financing, and strategic sales involving leading companies in Southeast Asia. His various board roles included service as a commissioner of the state-owned oil giant, Pertamina, and an independent board director of Axiata Group Berhad. He currently sits on the international advisory board of Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company.

Gita hosts the educational podcast “Endgame,” focused on the region to promote Southeast Asia’s growth and prosperity. He is a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham School of Politics and International Relations, and a nonresident scholar in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses his research on Southeast Asia’s nation-building directionality.