HLS and Matsushita Gobel Foundation launch initiative on the study of Asian legal reform

Harvard Law School and the Matsushita Gobel Foundation will jointly launch the Matsushita Gobel Foundation Initiative on the Study of Asian Legal Reform on October 22, 2012, in Cambridge, Mass.

The foundation’s gift will support the initiative for five years and will be comprised of two key elements:

– The Matsushita Gobel Foundation Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Matsushita Gobel Foundation Financial Aid Fund, which will provide financial assistance to deserving Harvard Law School students, with a preference for LL.M. and S.J.D. students from Southeast Asia, and when possible, students from Indonesia. If awards can be made to multiple students, this fund also may be used to support J.D., LL.M. and S.J.D. students from Asia and the United States who have an interest in legal reform in Asia.

– The Matsushita Gobel Foundation Research Fund, which will support research conducted by faculty, students and/or recent graduates on topics related to legal systems and legal reform in Asia, with a preference for research on legal systems and legal reform in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia.

“We are thrilled about this terrific and generous gift!,” said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. “With this gift, Harvard Law School will expand our work on legal systems and legal reform in Asia and build upon our longstanding commitment to train lawyers and leaders from Southeast Asia and equip them with all tools and perspectives pursued by our faculty, students, and programs. This work will be possible and will be inspired by the wisdom and vision of Mr. Rachmat Gobel for making this exciting initiative possible.”

HLS Professor William Alford, vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies and director of East Asian Legal Studies, said: “The Harvard Law School, from Professor Jens Westengard’s service as advisor to King Chulalongkorn of Thailand more than a century ago, has been deeply involved in the study of law, as well as law reform, in Southeast Asia. Mr. Rachmat Gobel’s wonderful gift will ensure that Harvard remains intensively engaged in Southeast Asia, with increasing attention to Indonesia.”

The Matsushita Gobel Foundation is establishing these funds with the conviction that Indonesia’s economic progress depends on substantial legal reform.

Rachmat Gobel, the Chairman of the Matsushita Gobel Foundation, believes that education is the key to achieving Indonesia’s aspirations to be a developed, socially just and prosperous nation by 2045, the 100th anniversary of its independence.

“The Harvard Law School can play a major role in training the political and business elite of Indonesia,” Gobel said.

“My hope is that over time, this initiative will produce a new generation that will drive legal reform in Indonesia and other Asian countries. The expertise that the School has gained from its study of different legal systems in various regions will be invaluable for Indonesia. Through the Matsushita Gobel Initiative, we are investing in a brighter future for Indonesia and other Asian countries.”

About the Matsushita Gobel Foundation

Established in 1979 by Thayeb M. Gobel, founder of the Panasonic Group in Indonesia, and Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic, the Matsushita-Gobel Foundation aims to provide opportunities for Indonesians to further their education and welfare. Besides its latest initiative at

the Harvard Law School, the foundation also offers training programs and workshops on engineering, manufacturing, and business management to the general public and small and medium enterprises.

About Rachmat Gobel

Rachmat Gobel serves as vice president of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) and is a chairman of Gobel Group, the Indonesian joint venture partner of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., and a global leader in electronics and electrical goods marketed under the brand name of Panasonic. Gobel heads the Gobel Group of companies that have operations in manufacturing, trading, services, integrated logistics management, as well as food and hospitality, including industrial catering.