East Asia Hub

Banner image with multiple photos of cities in China


WPI's East Asia Hub promotes knowledge and understanding of East Asia through faculty research, student projects, institutional collaborations and partnerships, student and faculty exchanges, alumni interaction, on-campus courses, and sponsored campus events. Established initially as the China Hub in 2013, WPI made a transition to the East Asia Hub in 2022 to reflect the level of engagement with the entire region. The East Asia Hub, working closely with The Global School, is a key agent in WPI's plan for a regionally meaningful and responsible global footprint.


The East Asia Hub mission is to develop and implement a centralized strategy at WPI to:

  • Advance on-campus and off-campus knowledge of East Asia through WPI’s project based learning curriculum as well as through programmatic offerings
  • Support various on-campus extracurricular activities that will expand and enhance the experience, knowledge, skillsets, and capabilities of students, faculty, staff and the business community concerning China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea
  • Collaborate and lead education and research programs between WPI and regional partners, looking at common goals, processes, and technologies by sharing resources and expertise
  • Facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting new research collaboration ventures between WPI faculty, staff, students, and peers in the East Asia region

WPI’s East Asia Hub links students and faculty to opportunities for project sites, research collaboration, and intellectual and cultural exchange, with Hub activities taking place on campus and in Chinese- and Japanese-speaking regions.

A Strong Foundation

Our engagements with China are built from strong foundations that encompass longstanding relationships and well-established initiatives at home and abroad.

  • Over 350 WPI students traveling to six major cities in China, immersed in the culture and working alongside numerous Chinese academic, government and corporate partners to tackle and solve challenges facing local communities;
  • A growing Chinese population of nearly 700 WPI students, and increasing educational offerings in Chinese study at home and through innovative exchange programs abroad;
  • Extensive faculty research and collaborations with Chinese colleagues that address diverse issues of local and international importance;
  • Interactions with the Massachusetts business community to increase our understanding of how to work with and engage Chinese markets.

New Opportunities for Engagement

The great successes our students and faculty have already achieved in China have created a momentum for intensifying our impact through increased collaborations with Chinese partners. We will continue to strategically hone our engagements with China to target urgent challenges in a more robust, multifaceted manner as we create a dynamic hub of connections that reach across physical boundaries.

Previous Events

China Town Hall event flyer summary

China Town Hall

On November 26th, 2022, the East Asia Hub hosted its regular China Town Hall. This time, we featured speaker David Y. Yang.

Yang, an Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard, invited us to explore the relationship between cutting-edge AI technology and state power in China. Most notably, Yang revealed how facial recognition used in suppression of unrest reinforces regime stability, and how the regime’s further investment in Ai for political control stimulates technological innovation.

Following the presentation, attendees were encouraged to watch John M. Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Singapore, and China, discussed his experiences in a nationally-televised, interactive event.


Gamification in language learning summary flyer

Gamification in Language Learning

On December 7th, 2022, Dr. Quint Oga-Baldwin, a Professor of Education and Integration Arts and Sciences at Waseda University, hosted a brown-bag talk at WPI about gamifying the process of language learning.

An emerging strand of research in language education, gamification incorporates using game elements to facilitate motivation, attention, and engagement. During his talk, Dr. Oga-Baldwin provided an overview of the theory and practice of gamification, including ongoing research efforts to educate language-learners in Japan.

Martial Arts Training in Japan Pres. by Dr. Quint Oga-Baldwin

Martial Arts Training in Japan

Following his Brown Bag talk, Dr. Quint Oga-Baldwin delivered another presentation. This time, he detailed this experiences after moving to Japan in 2003. These experiences spurred him on to pursue multiple martial arts styles including karate, judo, traditional jujutsu, tai chi, and training with traditional Japanese and Okinawan weapons. 

Dr. Oga-Baldwin also recounted some of the myths, realities, and common pitfalls he encountered while living in Japan, and used the lens of martial arts training as a window into perceiving a country’s broader culture.

China's next act summary flyer

China's Next Act

On January 19th, 2023, WPI was visited by Dr. Scott Moore, the Director of China Programs and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s also a political scientist, and a former policy-maker who focuses on China, sustainability, and emerging technology.

 In his presentation “China’s Next Act”, Dr. Moore discussed the pivotal role China plays in providing global public goods, while also addressing global challenges such as growing economic, geopolitical, and ideological rivalries.

The Gilded Cage Pres. By Ya-Wen Lei

The Gilded Cage

Ya-Wen Lei, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, joined WPI on Thursday, April 6th, 2023, to share her presentation ‘The Gilded Cage. Over the 20th and into the 21st century, China has grown to become a prominent global power, which has encouraged analysts to compare their transformation to the United States’ “Gilded Age”.

However, Ya-Wen Lei points out that the Chinese government’s ties to tech companies have fueled the development of a unique ideology: One that fuses nationalism with modernism, technology, and meritocracy; creating a “Gilded Cage” of rising inequality and unique forms of social exclusion.