Tsai Lecture Series


The Tsai Lecture Series, established in 2000 with a generous endowment from Felix Tsai, allows the Asia Center to bring to Harvard notable leaders in academia, government, and business, as well as other professions.  The annual lecture is open to the public, and it offers perspectives from a range of disciplines and from different regions in Asia. Past speakers have included the late Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary-General of ASEAN; Pritzker Prize-winning architect and humanitarian, Shigeru Ban; internationally renowned human rights lawyer and advocate, Asma Jahangir and the Honorable Caroline Kennedy. The Honorable Kathleen Stephens delivered the 15th Tsai Lecture in November 2019.



16th Tsai Lecture

  16th Tsai Lecture
The Future of the Philippines in a Post-Duterte Era
The Maria Ressa
CEO of Rappler, Journalist, Author, Freedom Advocate, and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
15th Tsai Lecture  

15th Tsai Lecture
The U.S. and Korea: Unfinished Story 
The Honorable Kathleen Stephens

Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, 2008-2011; President and CEO, Korea Economics Institute of America (KEI)  



14th Tsai Lecture: The Honorable Caroline Kennedy

  14th Tsai Lecture
Reflections on My Time as Ambassador
The Honorable Caroline Kennedy

Attorney, Author/Editor; Former United States Ambassador to Japan (2013-2017); Former Vice Chairwoman, Fund for Public Schools
13th Tsai Lecture – Kevin Rudd

13th Tsai Lecture
China's Worldview Under Xi Jinping
The Honorable Kevin Rudd

President, Asia Society Policy Institute; former Prime Minister of Australia (2007-2010, 2013) and former Foreign Minister (2010-2012)






12th Tsai Lecture – Surin Pitsuwan


12th Tsai Lecture
ASEAN@50: Past Accomplishments and Future Opportunities
Dr. Surin Pitsuwan
Former Secretary-General, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations); Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thailand




11th Tsai Lecture – Shigeru Ban  

11th Tsai Lecture
Works and Humanitarian Activities
Shigeru Ban
Shigeru Ban Architects, Tokyo, Japan; 2014 Winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize





10th Tsai Lecture – Asma Jahangir  

10th Tsai Lecture
Pakistan: From Crisis to Crisis
Asma Jahangir

Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Partner, AGHS Law Associates; former President, Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan; former Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan




9th Tsai Lecture – Prasenjit Duara  

9th Tsai Lecture
Network Asia: Globalization and Regional Studies
Professor Prasenjit Duara

Raffles Professor of Humanities and Director, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore





8th Tsai Lecture – Dr. Jim Yong Kim  

8th Tsai Lecture
The World Bank Group in Asia
Dr. Jim Yong Kim

President, The World Bank Group; former President, Dartmouth College





7th Tsai Lecture – George Yeo  

7th Tsai Lecture
Changing Tides: Re-Emergence of China and India on the Global Stage
George Yeo

Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore; Vice-Chairman, Kerry Group, Hong Kong; Visiting Scholar, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore




6th Tsai Lecture – Montek Singh Ahluwalia  

6th Tsai Lecture
India's Growth Prospects: The Challenge of Realizing Potential
Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of India; Previously first Director, Independent Evaluation Office, International Monetary Fund




5th Tsai Lecture – Dr. Sadako Ogata  

5th Tsai Lecture
Between Conflict Prevention and Building Peace: Evaluating International Responses
Dr. Sadako Ogata

President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees




4th Tsai Lecture – Amitav Ghosh  

4th Tsai Lecture
Sea of Poppies: The Literary and Archival Lineages of a Historical Novel
Amitav Ghosh

Author of Sea of Poppies, The Hungry Tide, The Glass Palace, The Shadow Lines, and In An Antique Land, among others




3rd Tsai Lecture – J. Stapleton Roy  

3rd Tsai Lecture
Asian Priorities for a New U.S. Administration
J. Stapleton Roy

Former Ambassador to Singapore, the People's Republic of China, and Indonesia, and Managing Director of Kissinger Associates, Inc.




2nd Tsai Lecture – Dr. Hafid Abbas  

2nd Tsai Lecture
Reflections on the Acehnese Peace Process
Dr. Hafid Abbas

Director for Research, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Republic of Indonesia, and Former Director General for Human Rights Protection, Republic of Indonesia




1st Tsai Lecture – Wang Gungwu  

1st Tsai Lecture
Tianxia & Empire: External Chinese Perspectives
Wang Gungwu

Director of the East Asian Institute and Faculty Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore; Chairman of the Boards of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore; Emeritus Professor, the Australian National University, Canberra



Harvard University's Asia-Related Resources