When I was a student, many of my classmates would head off to a warmer place during spring break. This year, Marta and I spent the break meeting with Yale alumni, parents, and friends throughout Asia.
Early last week in Hong Kong, we hosted the first meeting of the Yale Asia Development Council, a group chaired by Lei Zhang ‘02MBA, ‘02MA (International Relations), and attended by alumni and parents who are part of the Yale family in Asia. Our first meeting made clear that this group will be a valuable source of wisdom for Yale as we continue to develop our strategy for international engagement. Our energizing discussions addressed the kinds of collaborations that are mutually beneficial for Yale and for our partners in China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.
We ended the trip in Shanghai and launched a new partnership there. I signed an agreement with Shanghai Jiao Tong University to create the SJTU-Yale Joint Center for Biostatistics. Hongyu Zhao, Yale’s Ira V. Hiscock professor of biostatistics, will help run the center. The development and application of biostatistical models for use with enormous data sets will allow us to connect “bench” research to “bedside” practice with greater confidence. Patient care will be improved around the world. This is just the kind of global collaboration that Yale should pursue, in which two distinguished universities work together to solve pressing problems.
While at Shanghai Jiao Tong, I was thrilled to receive an honorary degree and to deliver a commencement address on emotional intelligence. You can get a sense of the ceremony and the new joint center by clicking here: http://www.ecns.cn/2014/03-21/105912.shtml. If you are wondering about the odd expression on my face in the photograph, all I can say is that we were trying to watch a video being projected to a screen located high above the stage – I’m not actually rolling my eyes!
Everywhere I travel, I run into Yalies. In Shanghai I was surprised by a sizable group of Yale undergraduates who were there as part of the “Building Bridges” program. During spring break, Yale students were also engaged in service and research projects from Washington, DC (with the Chaplain’s Office), to Barbados (with the Global Tectonics course), Jamaica (with the Gospel Choir), and New Haven (writing senior essays!) as well.
I have spoken many times this year about the importance of a more unified Yale. Even though we were scattered around the globe during the break, we were unified in our service and learning efforts. And though I, for one, am glad to be back on campus for the rest of the term, I am reminded that we are truly one Yale, no matter where in the world we are!