Yale Receives First U.S. Educational Grant Given by Sumitomo Bank Global Foundation

The Sumitomo Bank Global Foundation has awarded its first grant to an American university, and the recipient is the Yale Center for International and Area Studies (YCIAS). The grant will support the education of scholars from Central Asia. This resource-rich, ethnically diverse, understudied region has only recently emerged from the shadow of Russia in the years since the break-up of the Soviet Union. The YCIAS has been exploring programs to encourage research and education on Central Asia, and the Sumitomo Bank Global Foundation’s grant will fund the new Central Asia Scholars Program at YCIAS.

The Sumitomo Bank Global Foundation, which was established in 1994 as a not-for-profit corporation by the Sumitomo Bank Limited, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, has been committed to the goal of supporting programs that encourage academic achievement and pursuit of higher education in Asia by providing scholarships and other aid to students in that region. Since its establishment, the Foundation has granted scholarships on a yearly basis to over 370 students attending 18 universities in China, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

The grant to Yale is a new direction for the Foundation in that it is the first to be given not only to a university in the United States,but to any university outside Asia. It also represents an important component of YCIAS’ initiative toward Central Asia as a neglected frontier for research and training.

Through the Central Asia Scholars Program, YCIAS will bring graduate fellows and scholars from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to Yale as Sumitomo Scholars. In particular, professionals from Central Asia who are currently involved in careers in government and industry will be able to train in Yale’s master’s degree programs in International and Development Economics, International Relations, Forestry and Environmental Studies and Management. The additional skills learned from studying abroad and making connections with students in Yale’s professional schools will pave the way for Central Asians to enter the world of trade and finance.

In the third year of the grant, the Yale Center for International and Area Studies will sponsor a Sumitomo Visiting Fellow, who, as a policy-oriented government or academic professional, will teach courses that will bring to the broader Yale community the opportunity to interact with an expert on the problems and prospects of Central Asia at a more advanced level.

Though this is the first grant of its kind for the relatively new Sumitomo Bank Global Foundation, the Sumitomo Bank has a long relationship with Yale University. In 1973, Sumitomo Group pledged more than $2 million over five years in support of the creation of a Japanese Studies endowment and an endowed professorship, the Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies, currently held by Edwin McClellan. Since then, the Sumitomo Bank Group has continued to be a principal supporter of Japanese Studies at Yale.

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325