Donors and alumni sporting suits and ties, a student ensemble playing classical music, and the aroma of Asian cuisine filled the McClaren Center, last Thursday evening, as USF held an invite-only inauguration event for the Center for Business Studies and Innovation in Asia-Pacific (CBSI-AP). Spotlighting influential speakers such as former U.S. ambassador to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Larry Greenwood, the event held a “fireside chat” driven by the thematic question, “is the future Asian?” to dissect Asian economic affairs
Although few students were granted access to Thursday’s inaugural event, the CBSI-AP greatly impacts the student body. USF’s population is 25% Asian and, according to President Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., 6,000 USF alumni currently live in Asia.
Students may also benefit from CBSI-AP’s focus on connecting Asian and American tech markets. South San Francisco’s Silicon Valley is a global innovation hub home to some of the world’s largest tech companies, and Asia is home to countries with the fastest growing economies in the world. The CBSI-AP will provide current and future leaders with business knowledge regarding Asia and encourage cooperation between the two economies.
Previously known as the Chinese Business Studies Initiative (CBSI), USF’s only research center for international business is now expanding to include all of Asia, with an added emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. According to Greenwood, this expansion is necessary considering that China is not the only growing Asian economy. China, Korea, and Japan account for 80% of the GDP in Asia.
In contrast, many Southeast Asian countries are struggling to grow economically — especially following the pandemic — creating a deep inequality between the fastest growing and the slowest growing Asian countries. According to Greenwood, it is extremely valuable for U.S. businesses to study how these countries will address this disparity going forward, making Asia’s wealthiest countries, beyond just China, “laboratories for what the world is going to be doing.”
To further bridge USF’s student population to the Asian-Pacific, CBSI-AP is home to the International Student Ambassador Program (ISAP), a selective student-led organization that offers its members global immersion courses and scholarships, implements research projects, and hosts company visits to aid students in networking and career opportunities.
According to Tara Joseph, former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and a speaker at Thursday’s event, CBSI-AP will help students become global ambassadors. “Collaboration and getting out into the world and understanding each other, especially for the younger generation, I think is so important,” she said.
Hannah Yoder is a third-year international studies major and a deputy writer for the Foghorn. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.