Irid Farida Agoes, PhD '99 & MA '82

International Distinguished Alumni Award

By Barbara A. Byers

Release Date: March 28, 2011

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Irid Farida Agoes

Challenges of adjusting to life in the United States as a UB student are what began Irid Farida Agoes' lifelong interest in intercultural adaptation.

She has dedicated her life to promoting harmony among culturally different peoples through helping them to better understand each other and work productively together. Intercultural relations is her passion, and for 30 years she has worked to enhance intercultural relations with representatives of governments, international organizations and global corporations around the world.

Her first exposure to working in a multicultural setting was when she worked in Japan for the EXPO '70, where she accompanied heads of state visiting the Indonesian Pavilion, a challenge she said she tremendously.

During the 1980s she worked for the AFS International Program, the student exchange organization, as national director for Indonesia. To enhance the partnership with AFS, she co-founded Bina Antarbudaya (The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning) and in 1990 received an award from the Japan Foundation -- presented to her by the Emperor himself -- in recognition of the excellent relations between Japan and Indonesia. She later became a trustee of AFS International.

From the late 1990s until recently, Agoes served as director of the Institute of International Education (IIE), an international non-profit organization. Through its partner organization, the Indonesian International Education Foundation (IIEF), she was able to secure the funds that enabled thousands of marginalized Indonesians to study overseas. Agoes retired from IIE in 2010 but continues to serve on the IIEF board.

She is chair of the American Studies Graduate Program for the University of Indonesia, president of the International Muslim Women Scholars in Indonesia, international commissioner of the Indonesian Scout Movement and president of the Indonesian Chapter of the International Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research.

She recently received the First Class of Citation Medal Award from the HRH Crown Prince on behalf of HM King Bhumibol.