After Commencement, President Neil L. Rudenstine and his wife Angelica will return to East Asia to complete the second leg of their two-part exploration of the region, making stops in Tokyo, Seoul, and Shanghai.
The trip will be his first to Korea, and his second to China and Japan. In March, Rudenstine became the first sitting Harvard president to visit mainland China during an 11 day sweep through East Asia which included stops in Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei.
Rudenstine will meet with local university officials including the presidents of Fudan and Shanghai Universities, Harvard alumni and "friends of Harvard" in each city, according to Harvard University spokesperson Alex Huppe. He will also meet with government officials in Tokyo and possibly Seoul.
"Clearly there's a goodwill outreach component to this, and it's obviously in Harvard's interest to know government officials and other university presidents on a personal basis," Huppe said. "It's a mixture of purposes all to the good of Harvard University, and all to the good of international understanding."
Although Rudenstine will devote much time to cultural learning including a visit to the inland city of Xi'an to see the excavation of an army of terra cotta soldiers buried by the Qin dynasty in the 3rd century B.C., fundraising will be a large component of the trip. "Certainly there will be some people from the development office going," Huppe said.
Out of approximately 8,000 Harvard alumni currently living in Asia, roughly 3 percent live in mainland China, 8 percent live in Korea, and almost thirty percent live in Japan.
Each year, Rudenstine visits a geographic cluster of nations. In 1997, he focused on Europe, traveling to Berlin, Dusseldorf, Paris and London. In an early May interview, he said that his next area of exploration would be closer to home.
"Having done a big European thing last summer, and doing two trips to Asia this year, I think we need a South American trip next," he said. "We've been to Mexico, but not to Argentina and Chile...We're looking for a time slot."