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On the Passing of Ezra Vogel

On the Passing of Ezra Vogel

Ezra F. Vogel, a giant in East Asian studies, died this week at the age of 90.

Vogel, who was a recipient of China Institute’s highest award — the Blue Cloud Award — for Lifetime Achievement in 2019, succeeded John King Fairbank at the Harvard’s Center for East Asian Research where he trained generations of China and Japan scholars, promoting the importance of culture and history in understanding and managing world affairs.

At a China Institute program last year called “Is China the Enemy?”, Vogel spoke about the need for continued engagement with China. “[China] has already begun to replace the U.S. in world infrastructure spending, trade deals with other countries, [as well as] growing political impact,” he said. “We need China. Decoupling is impossible. We have to work together.”

The outpouring of praise and grief from the Asian studies community in the last few days has been stunning, as the scholarly community shared stories about Vogel’s generosity of spirit and intellectual prowess.

We at China Institute also want to acknowledge his immense contributions to helping generations of Americans better understand China. His passing is an enormous loss to our community, and to the world.

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