Professor Kao Establishes Fund to Promote Exchanges Between Asian Institutions and Yale University

Professor Charles K. Kao, Vice Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a distinguished pioneer in optical fiber communications, has made a gift to Yale University to promote scholarly exchanges with Asia. The gift, consisting of the proceeds of his recently awarded Japan Prize, establishes funding for a ten-year period to enable Yale students to complete study projects in East and Southeast Asia and will support young Asian scholars who visit Yale for extended periods.

Yale University President Richard C. Levin acknowledged the gift by stating: “This far-sighted and generous funding from Professor Kao will prove beneficial to Asian and American students alike, as well as to their universities. Yale is seriously committed to global programs, exchanges with other parts of the world, and interdisciplinary as well as international dialogue. We welcome the additional opportunities that Professor Kao’s gift will provide for our students to advance their understanding of Asia, and we look forward to welcoming Asian scholars who will be enabled through this program to conduct research at Yale.”

“Being internationally conversant has helped me to contribute more effectively and with greater impact,” Professor Kao said. “I am eager to make the advantages of overseas study more accessible to scholars from different regions, particularly to encourage visits to Asia from Yale students. A global outlook, informed by detailed, in-depth knowledge, is of paramount importance in today’s world where global operation and global perception are mandatory for effective performance.”

The focus of student projects and scholarly exchanges will be the two-way social, cultural, and political impact of technology transfer processes between Asia and the West. Yale College students visiting Asia under the auspices of the fund will conduct field research for the senior thesis, summer internships, and other creative projects. The fund will also subsidize the field research of Yale graduate students who show long-term academic commitments to East and Southeast Asia.

Scholars from East and Southeast Asia with little prior exposure to Western academic institutions will visit Yale for research at the University’s Center for International and Area Studies, the Agrarian Studies Program, the Whitney Humanities Center, the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, or other programs.

Professor Kao, who has been affiliated with Yale and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has been a longtime supporter and facilitator of ties between the two institutions. He was born in Shanghai and completed his Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of London. He spent many years with ITT in positions of increasing scope and was named Director of Corporate Research with the firm in 1986.

In 1966, as the principal author, he published the seminal paper on the theory and practice of optical fiber for communication applications. His pioneering work led to 22 different honors and awards, including the Commander of the British Empire in 1993 and the Japan Prize in the field of Information, Computer and Communication Systems, awarded by The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan in 1996. He is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees in the United Kingdom, China, Japan, and Australia. He was granted more than 30 patents and has edited and written over 100 papers and numerous books.

Professor Kao joined the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1970, went on to become Chair Professor of Electronics, and has served since 1987 as Vice Chancellor –President–. In 1985 he was appointed Adjunct Professor and Fellow of Trumbull College at Yale University.

The first grants from Professor Kao’s fund will be awarded in the 1996-97 academic year.

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Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345