Harvard President Claudine Gay Planning Travel to Asia During Spring Break, First International Trip Since Assuming Office


Harvard President Claudine Gay is planning to travel to Asia in March for her first international trip since assuming office in July, she said in an interview with The Crimson earlier this month.

Gay’s visit to Asia follows a trend of Harvard presidents traveling overseas during spring break to fundraise, meet with alumni, and visit local universities. Her predecessor, Lawrence S. Bacow, spent his final spring break as president visiting Jordan, Israel, and Palestine.

It is unclear which countries Gay will visit during her trip to Asia. Each of Gay’s past four predecessors have made high-profile trips to East Asia during their tenure, during which they visited China and met with the incumbent Chinese president in Beijing.

During the interview, Gay did not indicate whether her visit to Asia would include a stop in China. Harvard spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain wrote in a statement on Thursday that “planning is ongoing for a potential trip by her to Asia in March.”


“No locations or destinations for the potential trip have been confirmed,” Swain added.

Gay will not be the only senior Harvard official to meet with alumni and fundraise in Asia in 2024.

Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana will speak at a fundraiser in Hong Kong for the Harvard College Fund on Jan. 9, according to an email from the Harvard Events Office obtained by The Crimson. The event, which is scheduled to feature a reception and conversation with Khurana, is scheduled to be held at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.

Gay and Khurana’s travel to Asia are clear indications that the University is seeking to step up its fundraising on the continent. Like Gay, Bacow used his first spring break trip as president to travel to East Asia.

Harvard’s fundraising efforts in Asia also come as some donors closer to Cambridge have soured on the University amid fierce criticism of the University’s initial response to the Israel-Hamas war and Gay’s controversial congressional testimony about antisemitism on campus.

In the interview, Gay said that she hopes to spend her second semester as president connecting “with different parts of our alumni community that I haven’t had a chance to reach so far.”

Gay added that she is “looking forward to going to Asia.”

—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at Follow him on X @mherszenhorn or on Threads @mileshersz.

—Staff writer Claire Yuan can be reached at Follow her on X @claireyuan33.