Since 1991, the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) Conference takes place twice a year, in February in the confines of Harvard University and in August in one of the Asian countries.
This year Kazakhstan plays host to the HPAIR Conference, to take place in Nazarbayev University between 16-20 August. The five-day conference will gather over 500 participants, including foreign delegates, more than 100 speakers from different Asian countries.
The Conference will take place under the theme “Passion for change,” covering the following directions: geo-policy, public administration, economy and global markets, culture, media and art, environmental and ecological sustainability, social policy. All these directions are intertwined into the main two sub-themes digitalization and intersection of cultures.
As part of the Conference, plenary, panel, seminar sessions are planned as well as cultural and entertaining events which include “International Night” and “International Carnival”, expecting delegates to represent their cultures, traditions and national dishes. “Kazakhstan Night” is also envisaged where foreign delegates will be exposed to Kazakh culture, traditions and customs, cuisine and music.
“What sets apart HPAIR from other international conferences is the Case Championship scheduled for the 4th day of the Conference in the confines of the Astana International Financial Center”, Leila Akhmetova, Executive, the Organizing Committee in the host country, Kazakhstan, stated.
Among sponsors of the HPAIR Conference 2019 are Kazzinc, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) as well as Chevron and Microsoft.
“The Conference will make its contribution to development of youth as the 2019 year has been announced Year of Youth in Kazakhstan”, Leila Akhmetova said.
She went on to say that the Conference is a good opportunity for youth to take part in a discussion platform, show off themselves to the entire world, international representatives either delegates or speakers.
“HPAIR was founded to create a forum of exchange for students and young professionals to discuss and learn about the most pressing economic, political, and social issues across Asia”, Charles Michael, Executive, Harvard Organizing Committee, said, adding the Conference provides opportunities for like-minded young leaders to exchange knowledge, share experiences.
In order to bring the HPAIR Conference to Kazakhstan, 5 people were teamed up in July 2018, further enlarging to 28 students of Nazarbayev University who now form the Organizing Committee.
Asian countries such as Japan, India, Singapore, Taiwan competed for hosting the HPAIR Conference 2019. And only China and Kazakhstan made it through to the final stage of the competition, and in January 2019 Kazakhstan was announced as the winner.
How NU became the host of the HPAIR Conference 2019?
Every summer the HPAIR conference will take place in a different host university in a different host country in the Asian region. The country is selected through a competitive process as top university across Asian vie with each other for holding the Conference. Three main factors are assessed, they include the team, the institution and the location. After the competitive process Nazarbayev University beat other top Asian universities to become the official host university of the HPAIR Conference 2019.
The selection of Nazarbayev University as the host university makes it the first university in Central Asia to host the HPAIR Conference.
Charles Michael states that the Conference will allow to tap into a new sphere of young rising leaders in the Asian region and further the mission while inspiring young generations of leaders across Asia.
Among this year’s Conference speakers are UNICEF Korea President Dr. Song Sang Hyun, former Indian Foreign Minister Nirupama Rao, Rae Kwon Chung, Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Jonathan Woetzel a director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey's business and economics research arm, and others.
The HPAIR Conference gives outstanding students the opportunity to expand relations and develop long-term relations among future leaders. The Conference aims at serving as a discussion platform to ensure the exchange of experiences among students and young specialists to discuss the most pressing economic, political and social issues facing Asia.