Alumni’s gift founds Yale China Fund for Emotional Intelligence

A $3 million gift from two Yale alumni will help establish the Yale China Fund for Emotional Intelligence, which will assist Chinese educators to incorporate principles of emotional intelligence into programs for children 3 to 6 years old.

The effort will be spearheaded by Yale Child Study researchers Marc Brackett, Dena Simmons, Walter Gilliam, and Tong Liu and will feature implementation of RULER, an innovative program created at Yale that helps teachers and students incorporate concepts of emotional regulation in the classroom and that has been shown to improve student performance and educational experience.

The field of emotional intelligence is anchored in the seminal work of Yale President Peter Salovey and fellow psychologist John D. Mayer. Their research became the basis of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

“When I articulated the concept of emotional intelligence in 1990, I could not predict the impact that it would have and how it would resonate throughout the world,” said Salovey. “I am very proud that the idea has taken root in China. With the establishment of the new Yale China Fund for Emotional Intelligence as a focal point for pioneering research and programs, I hope that future generations in China will have more opportunities to cultivate the emotional skills that they need to succeed in life.”

The Fund will be operated at the Yale Center Beijing (YCB), Yale’s first university-wide center outside of the United States, which has hosted more than 300 programs and facilitated 100 collaborations among Yale and its Chinese partners. The benefactors are Yale School of Management (SOM) graduates Neil Shen ’92 M.A., chair of the executive council of Yale Center Beijing and Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital China, and Liang (Leon) Meng ’97 M.P.P.M., Yale SOM Donaldson Fellow and Founding Managing Partner of Ascendent Capital, who will serve as the program’s advisory committee chair and vice chair. 

“Similar to Yale Center Beijing, the Yale China Fund for Emotional Intelligence is a ‘startup’ that is geared towards educating future leaders and improving the world as a whole. I hope that the Yale China Fund for Emotional Intelligence will be well received broadly as we better prepare China’s future leaders for an impactful and meaningful life, and promote further academic and cultural exchanges between China and beyond,” Shen said.

“As a Yale alumnus, I am deeply honored to initiate the program and co-sponsor the fund. We look forward to leveraging Yale’s deep knowledge and experience in the field, and hope this initiative makes an enduring impact in China,” Meng said.

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