History & Mission

The Harvard China Fund supports teaching and research about China across all departments and schools at Harvard University and promotes Harvard’s presence and activities in China.

The Fund, which was established in 2006,  advances collaborative research on the major challenges facing Greater China. The Fund brings to life Harvard’s commitment to academic exchange with China through the activities of the Harvard Center Shanghai and other research and academic work conducted by Harvard scholars and students with Chinese partners. Harvard’s continuing—and growing—academic engagement in China underscores the importance of deepening our understanding of, connections with, and intellectual investments in the most dynamically changing country in the world.

The Harvard China Fund’s Steering Committee, composed of faculty from across the University’s Schools, has identified three core objectives:


To prepare Harvard students for their lifelong engagement with China, and to support Chinese students coming to Harvard for graduate and professional education.


To promote teaching and research about and in China, in collaboration with institutions across Greater China.


To strengthen Harvard’s capacity to address challenges facing China through the Harvard Center Shanghai.

Leadership and Oversight

The Harvard China Fund is chaired by Professor William C. Kirby, the T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration. A faculty Steering Committee reviews the Fund’s academic and financial plans. The committee is comprised of distinguished scholars from ten of the University’s Schools. The Harvard China Advisory Group, chaired by Dr. Victor K. Fung, provides strategic guidance on Harvard’s mission and partnerships in Greater China. For more information, please visit our People page.

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The Harvard Center Shanghai

The Harvard Center Shanghai bridges Cambridge and China, and serves as the intellectual crossroads for Harvard students and faculty in their collaborations in China. It is the convening place for Harvard programs, research conferences, workshops, and alumni/prospective student events. The Center is the regional hub in Asia for education and research activity university-wide, with the Harvard Business School and the Harvard China Fund having the added benefit of permanent staff based in the Center.

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Use of the Harvard Center Shanghai for Conferences

Harvard affiliates and Harvard faculty at hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School should first contact the Harvard China Fund about organizing conferences at the Harvard Center Shanghai. We may ask for an application depending on the circumstances of the event – please consult this document for more information. Harvard faculty who are interested in applying for funding to organize conferences at the Harvard Center Shanghai should consult the Harvard China Fund’s Faculty Grant Program.

Please direct questions and requests to juliacai@fas.harvard.edu.