Since 1974, the Henry Luce Foundation has sent cohorts of early career leaders from the United States to Asia, investing in the idea that immersive, cross-cultural experiences can shape lives and build bridges between the United States and the countries, cultures, and communities that comprise Asia. In partnership with The Asia Foundation, these emerging leaders have been placed in a wide range of sites from architects’ ateliers and museums to social enterprises and newsrooms.

Now, 50 years later, the Luce Scholars network demonstrates that bet’s value. These more than 800 Scholars, hailing from diverse fields, have been shaped by their experiences and left an indelible mark on the Program. Their stories, some of which you will find in this publication, are a testament to the fact that there’s no better way to foster mutual understanding and a sense of common purpose than through sustained, immersive, in-person engagement with others.

Henry R. Luce would not find this surprising. Born and raised in Asia until his early teens, his experiences influenced him throughout his life, from founding the global magazines Life and Time, to his philanthropic commitment to fostering better understanding and connections between American and Asian countries and cultures. This same spirit, the deep knowing of what connection on a human level can do, led to the creation of the Luce Scholars Program.

In marking this anniversary, the Scholars reflect on four foundational themes that have shaped the essence of the Luce Scholars Program: leadership, understanding, immersion, and connection. These themes serve as the scaffolding upon which our Scholars have built their experiences and outcomes, each story a testament to the power of cultural exchange.

Even as governments and individuals may seek to discourage cross-cultural understanding and exchanges, we remain steadfast in our mission. It is in these moments of connection, in these acts of mutual respect and empathy, that we find hope for a brighter, more equitable future.

During my tenure at the Luce Foundation, I have had the honor of meeting numerous Luce Scholars. They often express their gratitude for the Luce Year and how it has shaped and guided their life paths. Many of them ask how they can contribute. In response, I would say: Keep your connections with the world and each other. Maintain an open heart and open mind, fully engaging the diverse cultures and people you encounter on their terms. Nurture your connections across generations of Scholars, which many of you already do. Through these connections, our mission is carried forward, person to person, country to country, and generation to generation, for years to come.

Mariko Silver
President and CEO
Henry Luce Foundation

Download the Publication:

Life on the Luce: 50 Years of Luce Scholars

by Luce Communications on June 12, 2024