After recent trips to India, Mexico, South Korea and India to further the University’s international agenda, Yale President Richard Levin has his sights set on the Land of the Rising Sun.
Levin, along with a delegation of Yale administrators and faculty, will travel to Japan this November, where they plan to highlight Yale’s various influences in the country and search for potential new partnerships with Japanese universities and businesses. Levin said he will visit the University of Tokyo, which is a partner in Yale’s Fox International Fellowship program. There will also be a major alumni event in Tokyo to attract Japanese students to Yale and to generate ideas for internships that can bring Yale students to Japan, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs George Joseph said.
The trip will help jump-start the Japan-Yale 21st Century Initiative, which calls for an increased exchange of students and faculty between Yale and Japanese universities and more programs related to Japan on campus, said international economics professor Gustav Ranis, who will join Levin on the trip.
Although Yale officials are still planning details of the visit and a list of faculty who will travel to Japan is not yet complete, the rough agenda for the trip resembles those from past trips abroad, where Yale delegations have met with leaders in education, industry and government to raise the University’s global profile.
“I went to Japan about 10 years ago and haven’t been back since, so it will be interesting,” Levin said. “We’re just trying to get around to different strategically important countries.”
Levin will spend most of the weeklong trip in Tokyo, but other Yale faculty members and administrators may take trips to other Japanese cities according to their own academic interests, Joseph said. Several Yale faculty members are exploring possible new initiatives at some of Japan’s top universities and at arts and music colleges in Tokyo.
“Everything we will do there is driven by the faculty,” Joseph said.
As part of the increased collaboration over the next few semesters, Ranis said Yale faculty will unveil one new seminar on the comparative institutions of baseball in the United States and Japan and another on peace in Asia.
While Yale’s ties to Japan date back more than 100 years and the University already has several established faculty and student programs in the country, some faculty members said they think the trip might reinvigorate Yale’s ties to Japan.
“I think Yale has now recognized the importance of the U.S. — Japan relationship,” said economics professor Koichi Hamada, who will probably travel to Japan in November. “Yale already has formal programs developed with China and Korea, like Seoul University, so I think Yale is catching up with respect to Japan.”
At the Yale Club of Tokyo, the second-largest club outside the United States after London, alumni are planning a dinner for about 200, Tokyo Yale Club President Jim Brooke ’77 said. While possible summer internship programs are still in the planning stages, Yale alumni in Japan have responded warmly to the upcoming Yale visit, he said.
“The reaction from alumni is very positive and very excited,” said Brooke, a reporter with the New York Times bureau in Tokyo. “Yale-in-China is very well known and very strong, but Yale’s connections with Japan are maybe a little less known.”