We had the pleasure of hosting Dan Murphy, Executive Director of the Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, for a fireside chat at our recent Project Pengyou Leadership Training Summit at Harvard. He introduced to us the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, shared his own personal China journey and spoke to us about a few first order issues regarding North Korea, climate change, and Taiwan.
“I probably have the best job at Harvard,” Dan laughed, as he launched into an explanation of the Fairbank Center’s mission to advance China studies in all fields. The center hosts hundreds of events every year, ranging from humanities to religion, Taiwan-studies, gender studies, and more. In addition, the center hosts a program for graduate students and Ph.D. students.
A proud graduate of the Hopkins Nanjing Center, Dan Murphy also spoke about the importance of understanding China for individuals working in the US-China space. It’s necessary to understand what is happening domestically in both China and the US, as these domestic factors oftentimes have a larger influence on the greater US-China relationship than what is happening between the countries. “Our big misperception is seeing China as a monolith, as one entity acting in unity,” he said.
We would like to thank Dan for taking the time to speak to our Pengyous, answering our questions, and sharing his expertise and knowledge with us! Our Fellows were very inspired to hear his stories of his own time abroad as a college student and how he has carved out his own career in the field of US-China relations.
About the Speaker
Dan Murphy currently serves as the Executive Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and the Harvard China Fund. Prior to Harvard, he served as the inaugural program director for Yale Center Beijing. In that role, he worked in partnership with deans, faculty, and key contacts in China to produce programming at Yale’s facility in Beijing. Dan has also served on the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, where he worked on connecting America’s next generation of leading China scholars with policymakers and the media, led delegations of senior American Congressional staff on study visits to China, led successful grant initiatives funded by the State Department, and a directed a range of other programs.
Dan pursued his graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies, where he studied politics. He also holds an M.A. in Chinese Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a B.A. in English and Chinese Language and Literature from Connecticut College. Dan was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow in 2001, and currently, serves on the advisory board of SupChina and is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.