Princeton in Asia

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Princeton in Asia (PiA)[1] is a nonprofit organization that helps recent college graduates obtain yearlong jobs with educational institutions, businesses, media organizations, and NGOs throughout Asia. It is among the better-known organizations of its kind; the New York Times has characterized it as being similar to programs such as the Japan Exchange and Teaching program, the Peace Corps, and WorldTeach.[1] PiA is an independent affiliate of Princeton University,[2] and only about a third of the PiA fellows in recent years have been Princeton alumni.

PiA's roots reach back to 1898, when a group of Princeton undergraduates founded "Princeton in Peking" in support of the YMCA in Beijing. Among the best known of the participants was Sidney D. Gamble. Its name was changed to the "Princeton-Yenching Foundation" in 1923. In 1949, China closed its doors to the organization, which turned its efforts towards other parts of Asia and renamed itself "Princeton in Asia" in 1955. (PiA has since reestablished a large presence in China.) PiA hired its first full-time executive director in 1970, and the organization grew dramatically in the 1970s and 1980s.[3] In 2015, PiA placed 142 fellows in nineteen countries, including Cambodia, China/Hong Kong, Timor-Leste, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mongolia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.[4]

Princeton-in-Asia is no longer a missionary organization, but as former PiA executive director Carrie Gordon remarked in 1998, "our mission statement written in 1911 hasn't changed."[2] That mission statement is

To promote good will and understanding and to facilitate in every way the free interchange of the best ideals in the civilizations of both East and West. We aim to foster mutual appreciation and cultural understanding by connecting service-minded graduates and partner organizations in Asia through immersive work experiences that transform perspectives and cultivate long-lasting friendships.

Summer of Service[edit]

Summer of Service ("SOS") is an annual English immersion program held during the summer at the Normal College of Jishou University in Jishou, Hunan, China. It was founded by a Princeton student, Rory Truex, in 2005 and is sponsored by Princeton in Asia.


  1. ^ Chura, Hillary (2006-02-25), "A Year Abroad (or 3) as a Career Move", New York Times, pp. C5
  2. ^ a b Honan, William H. (1998-12-02), "Universities Again Involved In Joint Ventures in China", New York Times, pp. B14
  3. ^ History of PiA, archived from the original on 2006-11-30
  4. ^ About Us - Princeton in Asia, retrieved 13 September 2011

External links[edit]