Stanford News


CONTACT: Diane Manuel, News Service (650) 725-1945;

First class of Asia Pacific Scholars arrives at Stanford

A specialist in electrical engineering and materials science who has swum on three of Guam's Olympic swimming teams.

A chemical engineer from India who won that country's highest award for academic excellence and who also plays guitar in a nationally known rock band.

A composer from South Korea who plans to incorporate traditional Korean music with multimedia art and music.

These three high achievers are among the 19 international students who have been selected for the 1997-98 first class of Asia/Pacific Scholars.

Modeled on the Rhodes Scholars program at Oxford University, Stanford's A/P Scholars were chosen for their scholastic achievement, leadership potential and community involvement. Preference was given to those who demonstrated a commitment to returning to their home countries.

Announced by university president Gerhard Casper in 1994 and administered by the Asia/Pacific Research Center of the Institute for International Studies, the program is aimed at bringing up to 25 students to Stanford annually for two to three years of advanced graduate study. Scholars were chosen for geographic and academic diversity and come from China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

More than 50 percent of all international students currently enrolled at Stanford are from Asia, and 60 faculty members teach nearly 200 courses about East Asia. At a time when the Pacific Basin is the world's fastest-growing region, the university hopes to identify and train young leaders in business, engineering, journalism, medicine, law, education, the arts and public administration.

"We would hope that these Asia/Pacific Scholars will learn to interact with one another and with other Stanford students," Casper said. "Students learn at least 50 percent of whatever they learn at a university from their fellow students. It is very important that people encounter others from very different backgrounds."

The A/P Scholars Program is intended to help forge Asia-Pacific ties, and the expectation is that students will build professional and personal networks during their two or three years at Stanford.

"Our hope is that the scholars will form lasting relationships," Walter Falcon, director of the Institute for International Studies said. "As the scholars move into positions of leadership, they will find it enormously helpful to draw upon the friendships and insights that were formed through association with other Asia/Pacific Scholars."

Five A/P Scholars from China are fully funded by donor gifts, and the other 14 students have received fellowship awards. During their first year on campus all scholars will attend weekly seminars on topics related to Asia, ranging from Confucianism and Buddhism to security issues and developmental trends. They also will meet periodically with educators, scientists and business people in the Bay Area, and in spring quarter will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with government officials and Asian diplomats.

Michael Armacost, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, added that "thirty years from now, it's conceivable that there would be around 1,000 former Asia/Pacific Scholars in positions of influence throughout Asia."


By Diane Manuel