The Harvard Global Institute (HGI) was established by President Drew Faust in October 2015, with support from the Dalian Wanda Group and its chairman, Wang Jianlin. HGI builds on Harvard’s long-standing global academic tradition by supporting scholarship and programs that promote cross-discipline, University-wide collaborative efforts to address major global challenges. In Faust’s words, the Institute’s goal is to “leverage [Harvard’s] extraordinary intellectual and programmatic strengths … [toward a] more intentional strategy of global engagement.” In its first year, HGI established itself as one of the president’s key initiatives to convene faculty across Harvard to research and offer solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
Today, these challenges—such as climate change, migration, and urbanization—pose problems that cross disciplinary, institutional, and national boundaries. HGI creates opportunities for Harvard faculty and students to explore solutions through rigorous research and by strengthening relationships with scholars and students overseas.
What We Do
HGI funds large- and small-scale projects that bring Harvard faculty and students together with scholars from outside the United States to investigate problems of global impact and produce findings that achieve significant outcomes. Large-scale grants support multifaculty, cross-School, cross-discipline, integrative projects that build on existing research. Smaller grants support innovative, interdisciplinary projects that focus on issues of global significance that would be unlikely to find funding from other sources. HGI also convenes faculty and students to encourage dialogue and an exchange of ideas around key global issues. HGI symposia addressing climate change and migration draw together Harvard faculty members from across Harvard Schools to exchange ideas and develop research collaborations. HGI-sponsored events have also occurred in China, including summer courses at local universities.
HGI’s central funding and programming hub is in Cambridge, Mass.; operational support for research projects and programming comes from existing Harvard regional offices. In its first years, HGI funded research projects with particular relevance to China. Project activities have not been limited to the Harvard campus, but have encompassed significant work in China as well, with the Harvard Center Shanghai providing local assistance. In 2017, HGI is extending its geographic scope by funding cutting-edge research in India.