A $10 million gift from an alumnus will expand opportunities for Cornell students to study and explore the China and Asia-Pacific region and its global impacts.
The newly named Brittany and Adam J. Levinson ’92 China and Asia-Pacific Studies Program (CAPS) was dedicated May 5 on campus. Founded in 2005 and housed within the government department in the College of Arts and Sciences, the program offers courses, language training, internships and experiences for students internationally and in Washington, D.C.
“I believe the U.S. has started a new era in relations with China, an era of strategic rivalry,” Adam Levinson said, “so the CAPS program is more valuable for students than ever.”
“There is more room than perhaps ever before to help contribute to the emerging dynamic, either via navigating through a prolonged downturn in U.S.-China relations or, more hopefully, through helping to put the relationship back upon sounder footing,” said Allen Carlson, associate professor of government, the Michael J. Zak Chair of History for U.S.-China Relations and director of CAPS.
Adam Levinson, who graduated with a degree in government, is the founder, managing partner and chief investment officer of Graticule Asset Management Asia (GAMA), an independently owned, Singapore-based alternative investment management firm. Previously, he was a principal of Fortress and the CIO and founder of the Fortress Asia Macro Fund, co-CIO of the Fortress Macro Funds and CEO of Fortress Investment Group (Singapore).
Levinson also is the co-founder of Revolution Enterprises, a multistate commercial cannabis company, and is the founder of the nonprofit Detroit Children’s Fund, focused on improving education outcomes in Detroit.
Brittany Levinson, a freelance graphic illustrator, received a bachelor’s degree in textile and fashion design from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
After graduating from Cornell, Adam Levinson accepted a job at Goldman Sachs and was soon offered a position at the company’s Hong Kong office – a place few others were drawn to in those days.
“I had a natural self-directed interest in a lot of things that were going on in Asia at the time,” said Levinson, who grew up in Detroit and witnessed the “hollowing out,” he said, of the auto industry as a result of the rising popularity of Japanese cars.
The Levinson gift will give students expanded opportunities to study U.S.-China relations, policies, economics and business. CAPS, which has 34 affiliated faculty, is a valuable component of Cornell’s global reach and plays an important role in providing experiences for students in Asia.
A total of 120 students have completed the CAPS major or minor. Program alumni work for the State Department and in think tanks throughout Washington, D.C.; run successful startups in Beijing; work with investment banks and consulting firms; and work with the National Youth Orchestra of China among other things, Carlson said.
“The relationship with China will be the most important bilateral relationship the U.S. must manage for the next two generations, at least,” Adam Levinson said, adding that Cornell’s program is strengthened by its preeminent Asian studies collection and its strong academic programs in both Asian studies and government.
“Just sounding the alarm on China will not be enough,” he said. “We will miss out on a lot of opportunities if we don’t develop a much more creative, compelling and interesting strategy for managing this relationship.”
Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.