On Wednesday, Yale University announced the creation of the Yale Leadership Center in Beijing, which will host leadership programming offered by schools and centers across the university. The Yale Leadership Center will be operated by the Yale School of Management (SOM), which will work to expand the growing array of conferences and workshops for Chinese leaders that Yale has offered in both China and New Haven.
It will be Yale’s only center in China, hosting programming from the entire university community. The facility will act as a hub for leadership development activities and will facilitate research, act as a platform for discussions and conferences, and provide a home base for professional and executive education efforts. It will also have offices for faculty from throughout Yale to use when they are in Beijing, as well as flexible workspace for SOM’s MBA, MAM, and PhD students.
The center is made possible by generous gifts from two Yale alumni and one Yale friend who are committed to deepening the mutually beneficial relationship between the university and their home country.
Neil Shen, founding managing partner of Sequoia Capital China, Bob Xiaoping Xu, founding partner of ZhenFund.com, and Brad Huang, founder of Lotus Capital Management, have together committed $16 million. Shen will chair the center’s advisory board, while Xu will serve as vice chair.
“This center is meaningful given the importance of China and the United States to the global economy, but also given their central roles in all major issues facing business and society,” said Yale SOM Dean Edward A. Snyder in a statement announcing the news.
“We look forward to broad-based discussions with businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and public leaders on diverse issues, including improving health outcomes, environmental challenges, the increasing importance of creative arts, and managing financial assets,” Snyder continued.
Speaking on behalf of all three founding donors, Shen noted Yale’s long history with China and Chinese students, which dates “back to 1854 when Yung Wing, the very first Chinese student to receive a degree from an American University, graduated from Yale.”
The founders want this new center to accelerate efforts to cultivate academic and cultural exchanges between China and the United States, Shen says, which will benefit both their home country and Yale.
“At the School of Management, we continually seek out ways in which to deepen our intellectual and programmatic connection to Yale for the benefit of our students, faculty, and alumni,” says Snyder. “This center and its opening conference will be another opportunity to engage all of Yale’s schools and departments.”
Yale will inaugurate the center with a major conference, convened by Yale SOM on October 26-27, 2014.