On May 24, Shorenstein APARC hosted the final three research presentations by this year’s Corporate Affiliate Visiting Fellows. What had been months in preparation was at last over; any indications of nervousness or anxiety now gave way to jubilant smiles and celebratory thumbs-ups for cameras. The journey that began for many nearly a year ago had come to a successful end.
Established in 1982, the Corporate Affiliates Program introduces personnel of Asian organizations that have become APARC corporate affiliates to American life and institutions. Over the span of a year, Corporate Affiliate Visiting Fellows have the opportunity to immerse in daily interaction with specialists, students, and scholars from Stanford and abroad. In turn, the practical experience and international perspectives that Visiting Fellows bring with them enrich and inform intellectual exchange at both Shorenstein APARC and Stanford at large.
The 2017-2018 Visiting Fellows came to APARC from 14 different organizations including government agencies, state-owned enterprises, and private sector industry corporations from four countries: China, India, Japan, and Korea.
The Corporate Affiliates Program is ideal for mid-career professionals looking to expand their knowledge and international experience. Visiting Fellows participate in a structured, yet individualized year of academic exploration. Elements of the program include creating individual research projects, auditing classes, attending exclusive seminars, and visiting local companies and institutions.
Following summer intensives and orientation, Visiting Fellows embark on their nine-month research projects under the guidance of an APARC faculty advisor. Fellows are matched with an advisor based on the research project subject and/or their professional background and region of employment.
“The best thing about this program is that I have one entire year to focus and to manage my own time,” observed a previous Visiting Fellow.
The months of thorough research culminate in a paper and its public presentation. Fellows present their research findings before an audience of APARC faculty and researchers, Stanford community members, and their “fellow Fellows.” Over the course of five days in May, audiences heard presentations on a wide variety of subjects ranging from the impact of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the AI Industry to regulatory requirements for bio-similar products, and from the role of large industries in Urban Air Transport to the benefits of shifting a government’s focus from economic growth to people’s happiness.
Presentations were well received by APARC faculty, though not before standing up to the rigorous follow-up questions from a highly engaged audience.
For Corporate Affiliates, the year was not exclusively about their research. Fellows found ample opportunities to take advantage of non-academic pursuits, both on-campus and in the greater Bay Area.
One way to further encourage exploration was a team-based activity designed by the program. Fellows were broken up into groups of five, each tasked with coordinating an excursion to take the rest on. Facilitated trips included a hike to Stanford’s famous radio telescope (“the Dish”), an exploration of the Berkeley neighborhood and its local industries, and a visit to NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field.
In addition to their professional experiences, Fellows also enriched the Center and university community through their personal pursuits. Takahito Inoshita, for example, brought his musical talent to Stanford along with an extensive experience in engineering. While researching how cities could identify policy needs via natural language data, he also performed with the Stanford Jazz Orchestra as lead trombonist at a November performance at Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall.
Next year’s Visiting Fellows are scheduled to begin arriving in mid-June, and include personnel from government, SOEs and private industries, but also the military and non-profit sector as well. For now, however, the Center is still saying goodbye to the 2017-2018 Fellows as they leave to join a distinguished, ever-growing alumni network of government and private sector professionals throughout Asia.