Remembering Prof. Kwari: UNAIR Faculty of Medicine Pediatrics program initiator, first Indonesian intellectual to set foot at Harvard

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Courtesy from Harvard School of Public Health Annual Book, 1954.

UNAIR NEWS – Exactly 47 years ago, Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) was led by a great scholar, Prof. R. Kwari Setjadibrata, dr. Sp.A. He was a doctor graduated from ARTS University of Indonesia (UI) in 1948.

Even though his name does not sound familiar, the fifth UNAIR Rector was one of the best sons of nation. Nine years after Indonesia’s independence, when the educated community was still dominated by legal experts, lawyers and engineers, such as Mr. Soepomo, Mr. Moh Roem, and President Soekarno. dr. Kwari Setjadibrata was quite famous as a doctor at that time.

After finishing his first medical degree, the man born in Serang on January 21, 1920 took medical program specialist in Pediatrics at UI, precisely in 1954.

In that same year, Prof. Kwari left for America to continue his studies at Harvard School of Public Health. During his two years at Harvard, he received support from Foreign Office Affairs and Eisenhower Fellowship which was not a small feat in those days. Moreover, Prof. Kwari was the first Indonesian to set foot at Harvard.

It was not a small feat in those days. Moreover, Prof. Kwari was the first Indonesian to set foot at Harvard.

As in Sidrotun Naim’s memory, a researcher at Harvard Medical School Microbiology&Immunology 2013-2015. “He told dr. Darti Satjadibrata, his daughter, about how his colleagues at Harvard were very curious about Indonesia. There are so many questions asked,” he said during the opening speech at Harvard Aspire # 1 on August 17, 2020 .

After returning from Harvard, in 1956, Prof. Kwari was appointed as Assistant Expert, ranked FII at Faculty of Medicine (FK) UI. Four years later, he was promoted to Head of FVI Rank at FK UI. Until 1964, he was officially inaugurated as Professor of Faculty of Medicine (FK) UNAIR and moved from UI to UNAIR.

At UNAIR, Prof. Kwari assumed a new position as Head of the Pediatric Diseases at FK UNAIR. With this position, he was assigned to initiate the pediatric specialist program at UNAIR.

From 1969 to 1974, Prof. Kwari was appointed as Special Assistant for Development to UNAIR Rector. He was known to have high enthusiasm to be pioneering driving force.

Prof Kwari’s love and persistence towards science led him to reach the peak of his career as UNAIR Rector in 1974 . “My colleagues and good friends as well as alumni and lecturers of UNAIR said that as a university leader, Prof. Kwari’s role was very big,” said Sidrotun Naim.

But unfortunately, Prof. Kwari’s tenure at that time was very short. In 1975, exactly one year after he served as UNAIR Rector, Prof. Kwari died. He passed away due to health problems.

At that time, the news was quite shocking. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Today, January 21, is the birthday of Prof. Kwari. If he were still alive, he would now be 101 years old.

During his lifetime, Prof. Kwari had fully dedicated himself to science. His pioneering spirit in developing science will always be a very valuable legacy. (*)

Author: Erika Eight Novanty

Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh

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