History and Mission of the Office
The first university-wide policy regarding the establishment of Harvard sites outside the United States was approved in 1997. The first such policy regarding the governance of research and educational centers was promulgated in 2002. At the start of academic year 2004-2005, the Provost appointed a task force, chaired by Prof. Jorge I. Domínguez, to review university policies with regard to international activities, especially large projects and sites outside the United States. Upon consultation with Deans and professors, and discussions with members of the Board of Overseers, the President and Fellows approved the task force report in academic year 2005-2006. The university’s first vice provost for international affairs was appointed effective July 1, 2006. In fall 2006, the University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS) was created; comparable procedures have been established in each Harvard School.
In keeping with the recommendations issued by the task force report, the university’s vice provost for international affairs seeks to promote and develop Harvard’s international activities across its Schools, foster coordination between them, oversee and review large-scale international endeavors, and set policies to establish best practices. The vice provost does not directly administer university programs or offices, which remain the responsibility of the Schools, departments, research centers, or other units within the central administration.
The vice provost is responsible for developing and overseeing a variety of university-wide initiatives and policies relating to international research, education, and collaboration. The vice provost is the principal academic officer responsible for reviewing proposals to develop inter-Faculty initiatives on international topics and, working with the Deans and the faculty, stimulates the development of such proposals. The vice provost seeks to strengthen Harvard activities in particular fields of international or regional study. In partnership with Deans and professors, the vice provost supports development efforts for international programs in all of the university’s Schools and serves as an advocate for such programs within the university.
The vice provost works with the Deans and professors to develop, oversee and, if warranted, terminate large-scale university activities abroad. These activities include centers, large projects, and offices outside the United States. Harvard Centers within or outside the university that serve more than one of its Schools report to their respective Deans and to the Vice Provost. Together, these efforts promote best practices across Harvard’s international operations, which may serve the needs of one or several Schools and, in many cases, provide international study opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students.
In May of 2008, the Office of the Vice Provost of International Affairs, in collaboration with the Office of the Controller, launched a website - "Harvard Worldwide" - that brings together information on Harvard's rapidly growing range of international activities in a single place. For the first time, Harvard students, faculty, and administrators, as well as the general public, can now find information on these activities quickly and easily. Among other things, these international activities include courses; grants for research, travel, and internships abroad; degree, certificate, and executive education programs; and faculty research. To visit the website, please click on the link below.