Asia Programs: Programs

Summer 2008

This summer has been an extremely busy and fruitful one. With the fall term now quickly approaching, we would like to quickly review what we have achieved this past year and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The breadth and strength of our programmatic activity this past year reflect a continuing amount of growth for Asia Programs. As a school-wide initiative integrating Asia-related activities, Asia Programs leverages the considerable talent and experience of all KSG faculty, post-graduate fellows, and senior researchers and links to Harvard's substantial Asia resources.
As of July 1, Asia Programs has combined forces with the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation. (See this article in the Harvard Gazette: HKS Asia Programs joins the Ash Institute.) Asia Programs’ wealth of experience and contacts in Asia and the Ash Institute’s research, outreach and training work on innovation and democratic governance will provide a strong platform for greater collaboration.

Spanning initiatives across Asia, our many programs address a wide spectrum of public policy issues in the region. A sample of our work includes the targeted training of national and provincial government officials in China, Taiwan and Vietnam, the executive training of senior Japanese business leaders, and cooperative projects that provide advisory services, teaching and research in the fields of microfinance and retail banking.

Asia Programs also seeks to promote top-quality research in public policy analysis through teaching, working conferences, and the availability of various fellowship positions. Program Fellows have included former heads of state, government think-tank directors, corporate executives, senior military figures, national policy advisers, leading academics, and senior level staff of international organizations such as the UNDP and the World Bank.

Recent work within Asia Programs is richly varied and profits from a natural synergy in research linkages that run through each project. Below, is a brief description of activities within each program. For more details, please visit the program homes on the web site.

The Vietnam Program is seeking to improve and expand its already extensive government training initiatives in Vietnam. The most exciting is the establishment of a new MPP degree.  In the fall of 2008, the Program will enroll the first-ever cohort of Masters in Public Policy students in Vietnam.  It has also identified three fields in which executive education classes would fulfill critical needs for higher-level students: law, public policy, and technology management. These programs will differ from the specialized short-training courses in their broader topical coverage, greater use of business and law school professors, and their emphasis on helping senior managers understand the context in which they operate. Program Director Tommy Vallely was instrumental in establishing the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF), approved by the US Congress in 2000. The VEF will prepare a pool of Vietnamese college graduates to successfully apply for graduate studies in science, broadly defined, at an American university. The VEF will finance part of each student's comprehensive academic program in science at an American university, once they have gained admittance. The Program is also in the process of encouraging the establishment of "Centers of Excellence" in Vietnam, where Vietnamese scientists work to define and attempt to solve cutting-edge scientific problems, and are connected with other centers and scientists around the world that do the same. In the summer of 2008, the Vietnam program provided support for the Premier’s visit to the United States.

The Financial Sector Program sponsors an executive education course, conducts research and teaching and collaborative outreach. Program Director Jay Rosengard has been working with colleagues in China and Vietnam to examine public finance problems in those two very different countries.

The Asia Pacific Policy Program is changing into the AsiaVisions 21 Program, which will include quarterly workshops on energy and the environment, and an annual conference bringing together many of the best minds on the political economy of Asia to discuss current trends and future prospects. 

The China Public Policy Program recently concluded the first year of a newly reconstituted five-year government-training program and the building of domestic public administration teaching capacity in China. The China's Leaders in Development program provided some 11 weeks of classes designed to help Chinese officials think about governance challenges in an increasingly market and internationally oriented economy. This program is supported by Amway (China) Co., Limited. In addition, the New World Fellows Program has expanded due to the generosity of the New World Company and the support of the Chinese government. Up to twenty senior government officials from China will attend open-enrollment executive education programs at HKS, or stay as semester-long researchers at Asia Programs. 

The Taiwan Leaders Program continues to place senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in open enrollment executive education programs at HKS. It also published a book on the administration of former President Chen Shui-Bian and is working on a book on the Japan-Taiwan-China security environment.

The fifteen annual symposium of the Kansai Association of Businesses (Kansai Keizai Doyukai) took place last March. A lively full-day discussion examined security and economic developments in Asia. This association with the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government will continue, even as Asia Programs moves to the Ash Institute. Yusuke Yokozama, the 2008-09 Doyukai Fellow will be arriving from the Obayashi Corporation, where he is in the research department. He will be looking at the major Japanese construction companies’ strategy for the global market.


In 2008-09, Asia Programs will be home to numerous fellows. For a list and full bios, please click here: Asia Programs' Fellows.

Looking Ahead

In the first year of my dual roles as Faculty Chair of Asia Programs and Director of the Ash Institute, I look forward to finding new and exciting ways to foster cooperation within the different parts of our community.

The Asia Programs mission of providing world-class teaching, research and executive training at the Kennedy School is being solidified by many new initiatives. This letter provides only a sketch of all the activities being pursued at Asia Programs. We look forward to an active and interesting year ahead. We also would like to thank our many generous sponsors for their interest and support.


Tony Saich