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Citing Harvard's "academic knowledge" and "practical experience" in the study of international corporations, the Sumitomo Bank of Japan announced this week that it will endow a $1.5 million chair at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
"Japan views Harvard as a pioneer in these studies," said Tadahiro Abe, a visiting scholar at the Kennedy School who is acting as a liaison between the bank and the University. "We would like to take advantage of that expertise in international corporations," he said.
According to Abe, an agreement establishing the post, which will be known as the Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development (FASID) Professorship of International Development, was signed on October 9.
The new professor will coordinate the study of American and Japanese international development corporations--companies that enter developing countries to facilitate peace and economic growth, Abe said.
University officials lauded the arrangement, saying it will give a boost to the school's internationalization efforts.
"This is an area [Kennedy School Dean Robert D. Putnam] is very interested in," spokesperson Steven R. Singer said. "Internationalizing the School is one of his top priorities--expanding internationally is particularly crucial," he added.
Putnam will begin an "international search" to fill the chair soon, Singer said.
Abe said the bank's donation is part of a larger effort by Japanese companies to promote economic progress.
Since post-World War II agreements prevent Japan from contributing to world peace through military means, its primary objective is to strengthen Third World countries by promoting the study of economic development efforts, he said.
"It is our responsiblity to maintain global stability through these programs," Abe said.
In addition, a "secondary" goal of establishing the chair is to promote Japan's own national goals, Abe said.
According to Abe, Japan must "take the initiative in this area of study" in order to solidify its own economic strength.
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