Harvard College Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR)
The Harvard College Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) was founded in 1991 to create a forum of exchange for students and young professionals to discuss and learn about the most important economic, political, and social issues facing the Asia-Pacific region. Since 1991, HPAIR has organized 43 conferences in 12 different host countries, touching the lives of more than 10,000 students and young professionals. HPAIR hosts two student-led conferences a year – one on Harvard’s campus and one in the Asia-Pacific. Prospective host cities in Asia must undergo an intensive, six month bidding process; last year’s Asia Conference was held in Nur-Sultan, HPAIR’s first conference in Central Asia.
HPAIR conferences feature world-class speakers and guests to foster mentorship, networking, and guidance opportunities for delegates. Previous speakers include Kevin Rudd, the former Prime Minister of Australia; Ban Ki-moon, the former Secretary General of the United Nations; Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar; and Frank Friedman, current COO of Deloitte Global.
A centerpiece of our conference experience lies in our Impact Challenges, a case-competition style workshop in partnership with leading organizations designed to ask delegates to formulate solutions to some of Asia’s biggest issues. In the past, HPAIR has worked with the World Bank, the Schwarzman Scholars, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Impact Challenges have sparked startups, offered internship and travel opportunities, and mentorship events with corporate partners.
Beyond conference experiences, HPAIR has piloted a series of events to connect the Harvard community in international dialogue. In February 2019, HPAIR welcomed Andrew Yang, 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate, to Harvard. In March 2019, HPAIR hosted a forum with graduate students at the Harvard Kennedy School to discuss the history of gender inequality in international relations to a group of undergraduates. In April 2019, HPAIR invited Dr. Yukon Huang, Former World Bank Country Director for China and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to give a lecture on the US-China economic relationship to graduate students and faculty and hosted Gary Liu, CEO of the South China Morning Post, for a dinner with Harvard undergraduates.
The comp process is open and competitive (e.g series of interviews with selection). It involves a written application (1-2 short essays) followed by two rounds of interviews. Attend the info session and chat with members at coffee chats!
First years are associates, sophomores are directors, juniors are executives. The culture is extremely friendly and familial. We travel the world together, so it feels like a really close HPAIR family.
Traveling the world, bonding events, organizing the conference, seeing how the conference shapes the lives of hundreds of delegates, talking to amazing speakers and delegates about their lives and perspectives!