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Faust Kicks Off Asia Trip in Singapore

By Helen Y. Wu
By Claire E. Parker, Crimson Staff Writer

University President Drew G. Faust spoke to alumni in Singapore Sunday during the first stop of a trip in Asia to promote Harvard’s global impact.

At the event, Faust addressed over 400 alumni and took part in a conversation with faculty members Sunil Amrith and Tobias Walther on the role of creativity in addressing issues such as global migration and disease. Amrith teaches History and South Asian Studies, and Walther teaches at the School of Public Health and the Medical School.

Harvard Alumni Association Director and co-chair of the Harvard College Fund Geraldine Acuna-Sunshine ’92 moderated the discussion.

While in Asia, Faust will also meet with National University of Singapore President Tan Chorh Chuan and other academic leaders, before traveling to Vietnam. Faust will meet with alumni, academics, and university leaders at the Fulbright University Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, where she will give a speech entitled “Aftermath: War, Memory and History” on Thursday.

Sunday’s event was the 14th in the “Your Harvard” series, a three-year world tour organized by the Harvard Alumni Association that has taken Faust to cities such as London, Seattle, Beijing, and Berlin. At each destination, Faust speaks with alumni about “her vision for the future of Harvard, including its global reach and impact” in an effort to promote the University’s ongoing capital campaign, according to the “Your Harvard” series description.

The capital campaign, which kicked off in 2013 and is set to conclude in 2018, is Harvard’s first University-wide fundraising effort. The University surpassed its campaign goal of $6.5 billion in 2016, breaking a higher education fundraising record previously held by Stanford. With over $7 billion raised and a year left in the campaign, administrators and campaign leaders are turning their attention to unfilled priorities such as House renewal and construction of Harvard’s new campus in Allston.

Faust’s trip to Asia falls at a time when domestic policy is challenging Harvard’s global reach. Recent executive orders signed by President Donald Trump have curtailed immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries, and generated concern among international students and scholars about their ability to obtain visas in the future.

Faust voiced concerns about Trump’s most recent order, which took effect Thursday, at a faculty meeting earlier this month.

“Although the order is more narrowly drawn than its predecessor, I remain deeply troubled about its implications for Harvard," Faust told faculty members. “We face a very real risk that students and scholars from all corners of the globe may no longer see Harvard and other U.S. universities as attractive places to pursue their studies."

—Staff writer Claire E. Parker can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ClaireParkerDC.

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