Wu joins the Center at a transformative time in U.S.-China relations
The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies is pleased to announce Mark Wu (伍人英) as our new Faculty Director. Professor Wu is the Henry L. Stimson Professor at Harvard Law School, where he specializes in international trade and international economic law with a focus on China and the United States.
Wu’s extensive career and work on China issues has spanned academia, public service, and the private sector. He recently returned to Harvard after serving as Senior Advisor in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. His interest in China and the global economy began as a Harvard College undergraduate concentrating in East Asian Studies.
“As an undergraduate, I was inspired by the exciting work of scholars at the Fairbank Center who applied interdisciplinary methods to enhance our understanding of contemporary China. That vision influenced my own career choices and continues to shape my scholarship,” Wu said. “I am deeply honored to have been asked to carry forward this legacy and to build upon the strengths of the Fairbank Center community. The work that we do as scholars, in forging connections to better comprehend the wide array of changes taking place in China, is more important than ever, especially given China’s growing influence and the dramatic transformations taking place in our world.”
The work that we do as scholars, in forging connections to better comprehend the wide array of changes taking place in China, is more important than ever, especially given China’s growing influence and the dramatic transformations taking place in our world.”Mark Wu
Wu will lead the Fairbank Center at a challenging—and increasingly important—time for the field of China Studies. While demand for expertise on China is growing within academia and beyond, the ability to conduct academic research faces tightening restrictions within China, and collaborative efforts with Chinese colleagues are the subject of increasing suspicion from governments on both sides of the Pacific.
At the Fairbank Center, Wu has played an active role in the Center’s academic community for the past seven years, serving on both the Center’s Executive and Advisory Committees. At Harvard, he has also served as a Faculty Co-Director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and as a faculty affiliate at Harvard’s Asia Center, Center for the Environment, Center for International Development, East Asian Legal Studies, and the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.
At the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Wu advised on U.S.-China trade issues, as well as several other areas.. He also served as a member of the Biden-Harris transition team. Prior to academia, Wu worked as an engagement manager for McKinsey & Co., where he focused on high-tech companies. He began his career as an economist and operations officer for the World Bank in China, working on environmental, urban development, health, and rural poverty issues.
Wu received his J.D. from Yale Law School, after which he clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was an Academic Fellow at Columbia Law School. He received his M.Sc. in Development Economics from Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship, and his A.B. summa cum laude in Social Studies and East Asian Studies from Harvard University.
The Fairbank Center is indebted to Michael A. Szonyi, Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies from 2016-2022 and Frank Wen-hsiung Wu Professor of Chinese History, for his leadership over the past six years.
“It has been my great privilege to serve as Director of the Fairbank Center for the past six years, to work with an extraordinary group of colleagues – both faculty and staff – to try to maintain a steady course for China Studies at Harvard through the challenges of the pandemic, and to navigate the even broader challenges of the changing U.S.-China relationship,” said Szonyi. “I’m delighted that Mark Wu will be the next Director. I’m especially pleased that our next Director will be an Asian-American scholar, who I know will continue the work of making Harvard a more diverse and inclusive community. His brilliance and originality, his extensive experience in education as well as in government, and his strong commitment to China studies make him the ideal person for the job.”
“It has been my great privilege to serve as Director of the Fairbank Center for the past six years, to work with an extraordinary group of colleagues – both faculty and staff – to try to maintain a steady course for China Studies at Harvard through the challenges of the pandemic, and to navigate the even broader challenges of the changing U.S.-China relationship”Michael A. Szonyi
Mark C. Elliott, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History, noted: “An outstanding scholar of law and international trade, with a public service background to boot, Mark Wu is ideally suited to steward the Fairbank Center through the current tensions and evolving relationship between China and the U.S. I have seen Mark’s strategic thinking and dedication to the Fairbank Center firsthand over many years and know that he will excel as the new director.”
Lawrence D. Bobo, Dean of Social Science and W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard, said, “Mark Wu is the ideal successor following many years of great leadership from Michael Szonyi. He brings deep scholarly expertise as well as engaged familiarity with the activities, agenda, and ambitions of the Center and its community here at Harvard and more broadly.”
“The Fairbank Center’s work in promoting research and convening important conversations about China and U.S.-China relations is more important than ever, and we are so lucky to have Mark Wu—who is so experienced in navigating the U.S.-China relationship from multiple perspectives—driving our future,” said Dorinda Elliott, the Fairbank Center’s Executive Director.
Please join the Fairbank Center team in welcoming Professor Wu to his new role.