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Stanford Report, May 17, 2000

Lacking funds, Asia/Pacific Scholars Program suspended

Stanford's Asia/Pacific Scholars Program will be suspended for the next academic year while a review is conducted "to see if the program can continue in some different configuration, given the resources," David Holloway, director of the Institute for International Studies, said last week.

Holloway said that President Gerhard Casper, who enthusiastically initiated the program in 1994, made the decision to suspend the program's academic activities because they had yet to receive sufficient endowment support.

About $20 million has been raised for the program but "most of the money that has been given has been for fellowships for graduate students mainly from China, so there is really no funding for programmatic activities," Holloway said.

"Suspension means that fundraising continues and a rethinking is going on about the configuration" of the program, he said. Past and current students in the program have met with Holloway and hope to present alternatives for it, he said.

Nineteen students were selected for the program in its first year, 1997-98, and one-year stipends were made available for 14 additional students the following year. There are currently 23 students from eight countries in the program.

The program is unusual because it was not intended to fully occupy a graduate students' time at Stanford. Students from Pacific Rim countries who already had been admitted to regular departmental programs in the university were eligible to apply to become Asia/Pacific Scholars as well. They received additional stipends and participated in seminars, projects and other activities designed specifically for the program. These activities were funded by the President's Office in the first three years of the program with the idea that they would eventually be funded by an endowment.

Fundraising included soliciting endowments for new graduate fellowships, which would expand the number of Pacific Rim students at Stanford, and also for designing and administering programmatic activities. The Asian financial crisis was not anticipated when fundraising began in 1994 with the initial goal of raising $50 million.

The activities of the program have been aimed at building up the Asia/Pacific scholars' understanding of the Pacific Rim region in general and knowledge of each other's countries. Participants include students from the United States. The idea was to encourage "visionary young leaders" from Pacific Rim nations who would develop long-standing relationships that would transcend national borders and to strengthen Stanford's involvement in the region. SR