Columbia University established the APEC Study Center in 1994 at the request of the U.S. Department of State in response to the APEC Leaders' Education Initiative introduced by President Clinton and endorsed by the leaders of the other APEC member nations at their historic meetings on Blake Island and in Seattle in November 1993. This Initiative calls on institutions of higher education in the United States and throughout the Asia Pacific to collaborate on Asia Pacific policy research, and through exchanges, joint research, conferences and other contacts, to help establish an emerging region-wide network of personal and institutional relationships for all member economies.
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, and U.S. relations with the countries of East Asia to its core expertise in China and Japan studies.
Jointly administered by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI) within Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs and the Center on Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB) at Columbia Business School, the APEC Study Center at Columbia University enhances the School's rich tradition of research and teaching on the Asia Pacific region by serving as the focal point of study on issues of economic importance for the region. The Center links, coordinates and expands the reach of existing University programs organized by a variety of institutions which in turn provide it with important infrastructure support. In addition to the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the Center on Japanese Economy and Business, these institutions include: the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business, the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, the Center for Japanese Legal Studies and the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, among others. Resources for the Center's basic infrastructure have been provided by Columbia University. Corporation and foundation support in the U.S. and Asia are secured for specific programs and projects.