The Asia Center Welcome Message

Dear colleagues, friends, students, and visitors,

Welcome to the Harvard University Asia Center! We hope you have had a restorative summer. We are excited that the new academic year has seen the return of faculty and students to campus for in-person learning, even as we continue to face the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

The Asia Center is committed to facilitating the cross-cultural study of Asia at Harvard University. Our programs foster research and bring people together to discuss the interconnected histories of the region and significant issues facing Asia today. Given that many challenging issues are not limited to a single country or region, but transcend borders, the Asia Center’s acknowledgment of the need to carry out research across Asia is all the more important and necessary. Thanks to the exceptional Asia Center staff, the center remains a strong and vibrant leader in the study of Asia in transnational, transregional, and interdisciplinary perspectives.

As we moved from the summer into the fall, some of the early optimism about finally being able to emerge from the global pandemic waned as the new realities of the Delta variant took hold. This year, we are faced with a variety of challenges of supporting research as we adapt to this ever-changing situation. At present, all our substantial programming remains virtual, but we are hopeful about transitioning to some in-person events as circumstances allow. This year we have an active line up of presentations in a variety of seminars, including, for example, the Science and Technology Seminars, Southeast Asia Lecture Series, Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar Series, Borders in Modern Asia Seminar Series, Author Conversations Series, and our ongoing Online Art Exhibits. You can view many of these programs on our website here. The Asia Center has been able to welcome scholars to our community through our visiting Fellows and Associates program. As part of its mission to promote intra- and inter-Asian research, we also continue our Asia Center Graduate Student Associates (GSA) program, which includes a student colloquium that meets bi-weekly and affords the associates an opportunity to receive feedback on their ongoing research from peers in a variety of disciplines. The Asia Center Publications Program has been exceptionally busy and continues to publish outstanding award-winning monographs.

Sadly, the end of 2020 came with news of the untimely passing of our founding director, colleague, and friend, Professor Ezra Vogel. Planning is currently underway for an event in the Spring of 2022 to honor the many contributions that Professor Vogel made to the study of Asia and celebrate his role as the founder of the Asia Center.

The Asia Center continues to have close collaborative relationships with other Harvard Asia-related institutes focused on a single country or region in Asia, including the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies; the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies; the Korea Institute; the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute; the Weatherhead Center’s Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, and the Harvard-Yenching Institute. This Fall the Asia Center is pleased to be working with the Fairbank Center, Reischauer Institute, Korea Institute, Harvard-Yenching Institute, Mittal Institute, and Program on US-Japan Relations to organize and co-sponsor this year’s Association of Asian Studies New England Regional Conference on December 5, 2021. The Asia Center also benefits greatly from our collaborative relationships with centers, institutes, programs, and faculty members from across Harvard’s graduate and professional schools.

To better understand the mission and accomplishments of the Asia Center please visit the Asia Center website, where you will find links to all our programming and other resources for staying informed of the Asia Center’s activities and opportunities. You can subscribe to the weekly Asia Bulletin and the Asia Center This Week newsletter via the homepage or here.  

We hope that we will see you soon at one of our upcoming events. We wish everyone a productive 2021-2022.

With all best wishes,

James Robson
Victor and William Fung Director, Harvard University Asia Center
James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Harvard College Professor

Harvard University's Asia-Related Resources