HPAIR To Meet in Malaysia

Student group will hold two conferences in Kuala Lumpur this summer

The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR)—a student-led initiative at the College concerned with issues in the Asia-Pacific region—announced this week that it will hold two conferences this summer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, focusing on the “challenges and opportunities” facing Asia today.

The two August conferences—which will enroll undergraduates, MBA students, and young professionals—will have slightly different focuses. The Business Conference centers on analyzing economic and business trends in the region. At the Academic Conference later in the month, students will discuss broader academic, political, economic, and social issues in the region.

Participants will attend panel workshops and listen to distinguished speakers from politics, business, and academia. Past speakers have included Former President of South Korea Kim Dae-jung and Columbia Economics professor Jeffrey D. Sachs ’76.

The 17-year-old HPAIR pursues an “understanding of critical issues facing the Asia-Pacific region,” according to an e-mailed statement from Chelsea Lei ’09, the executive co-chair of HPAIR. The event has grown to become the largest yearly student-run conference in the region and Harvard’s biggest annual event in Asia, Lei wrote.

According to executive co-chair Hong Liu ’09, the Business Conference is expected to have about 400 participants, and the Academic Conference will enroll around 350.

Conference delegates will be students from Harvard and from various Asian universities. In years past, Liu said, HPAIR has drawn over 2,000 applicants from 70 countries worldwide.

“It allows these students—our delegates—to think beyond their nationality, their ethnic identity, and their comfort zone for better understanding,” Liu wrote in an e-mailed statement. “HPAIR’s goal is to broaden people’s perspectives about Asia and its relation to the world.”