2018 Awards

Conference: Africa-Asia Partnerships in Health and Healthcare Delivery for Women and Youth 

Harvard Africa-Asia Initiative


The Harvard Africa-Asia Initiative will hold its second international conference in Johannesburg to discuss the critical health issues confronting women and youth in Africa. By convening scholars and policy makers across multiple disciplines and from all over the world, the conference will establish a common ground for productive conversations about approaches to addressing infectious disease control, the increased non-communicable disease burden, and the strengthening of health systems in Africa, as well as other developing and developed countries. The conference will not only facilitate a deeper understanding of the health situation of women and youth in Africa, but also propose ways to move the agenda forward for safeguarding their development.

Arnold Arboretum Project: Campaign for the Living Collections 

Arnold Arboretum

$250K ($50K per year for five years, FY17-21)

The mounting effects of a changing climate threaten roughly one out of every three plant species in the world. As habitats change worldwide, the work of botanical institutions to discover, study, and preserve plants is vital to protecting our precious biodiversity. Over the next five years, the Arnold Arboretum will ambitiously strengthen the living collections through a strategic acceleration of plant exploration and plant production activities; these efforts extend to China, where the Arboretum has recently forged relationships with facilities in Chengdu and Beijing. The Campaign for the Living Collections will help ensure that the Arboretum remains at the leading edge of both integrated research in the plant and environmental sciences as well as in botanical garden collections development.

China Genomes, Environments and Traits (GET) Conference 

George Church (Harvard Medical School)


Professor George Church (HMS) will organize a China Genomes, Environments and Traits (GET) conference at the Harvard Center Shanghai that will not only bring together local and international researchers and experts on genomics for a cutting-edge meeting, but also promote understanding of genomes by the general public. In light of China’s initiative to sequence nearly 2 million genomes for its citizens in the next few years, the CET conference has the critical mission to set examples of open science for the good of society. The 2-day conference will consist of a day of presentations and a one-day workshop.

Conference: China Philanthropy Conference: Greater China Models of Giving

 Anthony Saich (Harvard Kennedy School)


Professor Anthony Saich (HKS) and colleagues will organize a 2-day conference on philanthropy in China. By bringing together researchers and leading philanthropists, the conference aims to not only help build the emerging academic field of philanthropy in China, but also shape philanthropic practices in China that will have a significant impact on the Chinese society at large. In light of the unprecedented accumulation of private wealth in China since the late 1970s and the increasing interest in private philanthropy among wealthy individuals, this conference will provide the critical opportunity for discussing whether western models of giving can be applied to China and the possible alternative frameworks for Chinese philanthropists. One day of the conference will be academic and the second will focus on practitioner issues.

Research: Foreign Powers, Domestic Integration, and Firms: Evidence from Shanghai in the Era of Concessions

Laura Alfaro (Harvard Business School)


This project aims to investigate the influence of institutions on economic growth with a fresh method of empirical assessment. Instead of comparing countries with different institutions to each other and over time in the traditional manner, the current project will investigate institutions in relation to the growth of firms and industries within the same city, namely Shanghai during the late 19th century and early 20th century. Probing the case of historical Shanghai can help disentangle institutions from other location specific factors that may affect economic growth, and to identify specific aspects of the broad term “institutions” that actually produce an impact on growth.

Research: The Geopolitics of China’s Drive to Decarbonize its Economy

Meghan O’Sullivan (Harvard Kennedy School)


President Xi Jinping made a historic announcement last October when he announced plans for China’s decarbonization and shifting away from fossil fuels to more sustainable sources of energy. This massive shift in China’s economy given China’s scale will undoubtedly lead to significant global impact in which the Geopolitics of Energy Project hopes to research and understand. This project will aim to understand China’s decarbonization through a geopolitical lens as to how China approaches this massive change in their economic way of life and its ensuing effects on the global economy, politics, and China’s current trade relationships. The project will then move forward to bring in scholars from across the Harvard community to form an interdisciplinary group that will observe China’s decarbonization push from different perspectives.

Harvard-Shanghai Conference on Brain Health – A Special Meeting for the Understanding and Intervention of Alzheimer’s Disease 

Junying Yuan, Ying Lu (Harvard Medical School) and colleagues


Professors Junying Yuan, Ying Lu (HMS) and colleagues will host a conference on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), convening scientists from Harvard and China in a collaborative effort to develop a better understanding about how to manage AD, as well as encourage cross-disciplinary communications to promote AD awareness and empower AD research in China. Considering AD is a worldwide disease that needs to be addressed, particularly in China where the population is aging dramatically at an unprecedented pace, this conference will provide a key step in the path to generate potential prevention or therapeutics for AD.

Conference: Improving Population Health through Oral Health in China Conference: Strengthening the Oral Health Delivery System and Building Workforce Capacity through Innovative Strategies in Education, Care and Research 

Sang Park (Harvard School of Dental Medicine)


Professor Sang Park (HSDM) will host a conference on oral health that will bring together faculty from around Harvard, universities partnered with the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and leading experts from various fields in China. The conference hopes to produce a white paper that recommends strategies to address the shortage of oral health workers in China and strengthen China’s oral health education and delivery systems. Since oral diseases are increasingly a health burden worldwide and especially in China, this conference will serve the critical mission of promoting much needed educational training and health infrastructure.