Columbia University established the APEC Study Center (ASC) in 1994 at the request of the U.S. Department of State in response to the APEC Leaders' Education Initiative. This Initiative was introduced by President Bill Clinton and endorsed by the leaders of the other APEC member nations at their historic 1993 meetings mentioned above. It calls on institutions of higher education in the United States and throughout the Asia-Pacific to collaborate on Asia-Pacific policy research, and to help establish — through exchanges, joint research, conferences, and other contacts — an emerging region-wide network of personal and institutional relationships for all member economies. The ASC is co-directed by Dean Merit Janow and Professor Hugh Patrick.
Columbia University has long been a leading center for the study of China and Japan, with one of the oldest and most highly regarded programs of study in these areas, including one of the nation's largest concentrations of specialists in East Asian affairs. Over the years, the University has built upon its global reputation for academic excellence and policy relevance in these areas, adding the study of Korea, Southeast Asia, India, and U.S. relations with East Asian countries to its core expertise in Chinese and Japanese studies.
The ASC core faculty, representing a number of Columbia's 13 professional schools, is engaged in the study of business, economics, development, health, political science, security, law, and other matters that impact the Asia-Pacific region. Reflecting its broad mandate, the ASC is jointly administered under the Columbia Business School (CBS) and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). It works closely with the Center on Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB), of which Professor Patrick is chairman and Dean Janow is a core member of the faculty. The ASC supports faculty research projects where appropriate and requested, but many activities are highly decentralized. For example, Nobel Prize winner Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz, an ASC core faculty member, travels extensively and is actively involved in the Asia-Pacific region, and has made major contributions to macroeconomics and monetary theory, development economics and trade theory, public and corporate finance, and theories of industrial organization and rural organization in the region.
The ASC enhances the University's rich tradition of research, conferences, lecture programs, and teaching on the Asia-Pacific region by serving as the focal point of study on issues of business and economic importance for the region. The focus of the Center's activities is twofold: the institutional arrangements and public policy issues related to the APEC forum itself; and consideration of the economic, trade, legal, and political dimensions of the APEC member countries and their efforts at increased regional integration and cooperation. In this way, the Center is focused on policy matters affecting the region as a whole and in a multidisciplinary fashion.