Tim Tai, Photographer Editor

University President Peter Salovey will be spending his spring break in Asia.

Salovey is expected to make stops in Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul, where he will be meeting with alumni and parents of students along with attempting to create new partnerships with Asian universities. In particular, his trip will include a dinner with the Yale Club of Korea and a board meeting for Yale-NUS College in Singapore. Salovey is expected to be accompanied for at least some portion of the trip by Vice President for Development Joan O’Neill and former Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun.

“I think it’ll be the first time in about 15 years that a Yale President has visited,” said Charles Lho SOM ’85, who serves as president of the Yale Club of Korea. “So we’re happy to host [Salovey].”

Lho told the News that before the club dinner, Salovey would participate in an annual meeting of the Yale Asia Development Council, an organization which connects alumni and other friends of the University to strengthen Yale’s ties in Asia. In 2014, O’Neill told the News that the University had formed the Council as a way to connect the University to potential donors.

Sam Wong SOM ’89, who serves as the president of the Yale Club of Hong Kong, told the News that while the club has not been informed of Salovey’s visit to the region, he is enthusiastic about the prospect.

“If he does come, we will welcome him,” Wong wrote in an email to the News. 

The president’s visit to Asia marks a move to continue growing the University’s international agenda in the context of challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Salovey said that in spite of this, the University is “very much still pursuing an international strategy.”

Salovey told the News that even twenty years ago, Yale was “not very international.” There was little funding for students to explore foreign internships or study abroad programs, and there were few international students on campus. There was also a lack of international partnerships, including those over research, clinical or educational goals.

That changed when Richard Levin, who served as University President from 1993 to 2013, set Yale on a path to be a “global university of consequence” over 20 years ago, Salovey said. Yale administrators began to meet with international university leaders as well as government officials to start new initiatives, such as the Africa Initiative, which has continued until today.

When the COVID-19 pandemic happened, Salovey was forced to halt his travels. 

“My normal activities of going abroad in order to, for example, shore up, reaffirm [and] reinforce partnerships, we just couldn’t do,” Salovey said. “That’s now changing.”

Salovey said in December that his travels have resumed at full speed this academic school year, and he is expected to continue traveling to acquire donations from alumni and friends of the University — destinations he had recently visited have been San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. 

This is also not the first time recently during which Yale has focused its international ambitions on the Asian continent. The News reported last month that the President’s Council on International Activities would focus its March meeting on partnerships in the South Asia region, especially India, where Salovey is eyeing partnerships with academic institutions. 

The University is currently asking for donations to reach a $7 billion fundraising mark for its “For Humanity” capital campaign.

William Porayouw covered Woodbridge Hall for the News and previously reported on international strategy at Yale. Originally from Redlands, California, he is an economics and global affairs major in Davenport College.