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Irwandi Yusuf, the recently elected governor of Aceh Province, Indonesia, visited the Oregon State campus for two days this past September. He made the stop at OSU during a ten-day visit to the United States as part of a delegation from Aceh. Mr. Irwandi is an OSU alumnus who graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1993.
The Aceh region is the part of the world most devastated by the December 2004 tsunami: 200,000 people lost their lives in the first five minutes and half a million more became homeless. Aceh is still struggling with the after-effects of the tsunami, but what is unique about this province is that its leaders used this natural disaster to bring an end to 30 years of civil war and subsequently brought about one of the most dramatic renewal and reconstruction projects in post-disaster history. Governor Irwandi was pivotal to this transformation and became a key force in negotiating the historic peace agreement between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government in August 2005. He went on to be elected governor in December 2006 through the first genuinely free democratic election in Aceh’s history.
Governor Irwandi has great interest in the sustainability of Aceh province with a special focus on the restoration of fisheries and agriculture. During his visit to the US, Irwandi had discussions with leaders of corporations and private foundations including the Starbucks Corporation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Asia Society, Rockefeller Foundation, Clinton Foundation, World Bank, and USAID.
While in Corvallis, he met with key leaders at OSU to discuss ways in which his government and the University might collaborate. He also had the opportunity to tour campus and see old friends, something he had been longing to do for many years.