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The News in Brief: Harvard Names New Yenching Institute Head

By Emmeline D. Francis, Contributing Writer

Elizabeth J. Perry, a Chinese politics specialist, was named director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute last week. Perry begins her new role July 1. She succeeds Harvard-Yenching Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy Tu Weiming, who has served as the Director since 1996.

“I hope to build upon the strong foundation laid by Professor Tu to broaden further the activities of the Institute, both geographically and programmatically,” Perry, the Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government, said in a press release.

“She is an internationally recognized specialist on Asia,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Harvard-Yenching Institute Peter F. Geithner in a statement. “We are delighted that she will be joining the institute next year.”

Established in 1928, the institute seeks to expand education in the areas of humanities and social sciences, concentrating on culture in East and Southeast Asia.

While associated with Harvard University and is on the Harvard campus, the nonprofit organization is independent legally and financially from the University. It operates visiting scholars programs and supports the Harvard-Yenching Library.

Perry, who was born in China and grew up in Japan, specializes in modern and contemporary Asian history and politics, with a particular interest in grassroots governance and social protest, according to the institute’s Web site.

“The Institute’s future could not be in better hands, Liz [Perry] is a distinguished scholar, outstanding teacher, and a leader of great intellect, vision and principle, with broad interests in both theoretical and practical concerns in East Asia studies,” Weiming said in a statement. “I am confident that she will not only maintain the Institute’s high intellectual standards but also advance its mission in new and creative ways.”

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