Yale to open center in China

Yale will soon have a physical footprint in China.

On Wednesday, University President Peter Salovey announced the creation of a center onsite in Beijing. Called the Yale Leadership Center in Beijing, will provide a space for faculty and students from across Yale to work and collaborate in China. The School of Management will oversee the operation of the center.

“This is the heart of what we intend to do: meet, gather, convene, set agendas and have an impact across lots of different sectors,” SOM Dean Edward Snyder said.

Salovey said the center will enable the University to expand its global reach and support the work of faculty and students in China. He added that it will be particularly useful in expanding the range of executive programs and conferences the University offers for leaders in China.

The center, which was made possible by a $16 million gift from three donors, will be located in Beijing’s Chaoyang central business district, on the 31st floor of the International Finance Center. The function and layout will be similar to the Greenberg Conference Center in New Haven, located next to the Divinity School, Salovey said.

G. Leonard Baker ’64, a former member of the Yale Corporation who travels to Asia frequently, said that the location is ideally situated because of its high visibility.

SOM Associate Dean David Bach said the center — which will include several conference rooms, offices and other meeting spaces — will be managed by the School of Management, which will likely be one of the principal users of it.

He said SOM’s job will be helping other Yale schools and centers establish their own programs in the center. That, he added, is part of a University-wide effort to expand Yale’s presence in China.

“We will work with the rest of Yale in a location that will be a hub for the kind of conversations that both involve management and go beyond management,” he said, adding that “it’s about time that we have a presence in what will very soon be the largest economy in the world.”

SOM Associate Dean Anjani Jain called the center an “extended classroom,” and said it will provide faculty and students with unique perspective on issues that involve both the United States and China.

In addition to providing a space for meetings and conferences, the center will serve as a base for admissions and alumni activity in China.

Brad Huang, one of the three donors, said that the idea for the center was first conceived several years ago.

“If Yale has a center there it will make everything a lot more efficient,” he said of the University’s expansion in China. “For recruiting purposes it’s more impressive and more attractive.”

Economics professor Stephen Roach — who previously worked as Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and travels to China once every other month — said the center would be a place to “hang my laptop, to work but also to convene meetings.”

“Whatever Yale can do to enhance U.S.-China relations at all levels is vital,” Roach said. “It will be a bridge.”

The creation of the center follows several other initiatives in China, although previous projects did not involve the opening of a Yale-financed physical space. Earlier this spring, the University announced the creation of a joint biostatistics center with a University in Shanghai, and Yale has previously partnered with Peking University. In total, Yale has nearly 100 programs in China, Snyder said Wednesday.

The center will open on October 26 with a two-day long series of events focused on discussions of environmental issues, health and creative and financial assets.

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