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A gift to inspire collaboration across campus and around the world

One supporter’s belief in uplifting developing communities through scholarly engagement leads to visiting fellows program at the King Center.
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Noosheen Hashemi

Noosheen Hashemi, MS ’93, has had a longstanding commitment to advocating on behalf of vulnerable populations.

Her gift for the Stanford King Center on Global Development is furthering this goal.

Hashemi immigrated to the United States from Iran as a teenager. She attended San Jose State University and began her career at Oracle Corporation in the early stages of its formation, ultimately becoming its Vice President of Finance and Administration. This career success, combined with a strong work ethic, propelled Hashemi to open precision health company, a venture capital firm, and a philanthropic foundation.

“Philanthropy used to be something that people did later in life,” said Hashemi. “Thankfully, my forward-thinking Silicon Valley philanthropic contemporaries started early to engage a generation of younger givers.”

Hashemi’s background and passion for engaging with marginalized communities led to her interest in the Stanford King Center.

For the past 20 years, the Stanford King Center, and its predecessor, the Stanford Center for International Development, has convened policy makers, academics, business experts, and community members to discuss critical issues facing developing economies, including India’s. Hashemi was drawn to an India-related conference and the topics discussed, which launched her involvement in the center.

 “I remember attending and listening to a particularly riveting discussion on the relationship between China and India,” said Hashemi. “The conversation between researchers and policymakers was insightful and left an impact on me.”

As Hashemi’s interest in the center grew, she began interacting with Stanford’s distinguished faculty members. And as the center developed more relationships with faculty on campus and across the country, its leaders came to her with a unique opportunity.

After discussing which gift options would have the greatest impact with then center Director Grant Miller, Director of Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Mark Duggan, and Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business Jon Levin, Hashemi chose to create a new endowed visitors fund to support the center’s visiting fellows program. The fund and program enables the center to annually host notable academics from domestic and international universities.

“Grant, Mark, and Jon’s vision of renown scholars being in residence at the center was hugely encouraging,” said Hashemi. “Stanford faculty and students will have the unique opportunity to engage with distinguished visitors leading the field in international development. Also, there will be newfound collaborations with a goal of informing solutions for the world’s most intractable problems related to poverty.”

 “Noosheen’s commitment to the King Center, the Graduate School of Business, and the university, has contributed greatly to Stanford’s academic community focused on international development,” said Levin. “Fellows that visit Stanford not only collaborate with the university’s faculty, but also support the next generation of scholars by advising undergraduate and graduate students on their own innovative research.” 

Over the past two years, the Noosheen Hashemi Visiting Fellow Fund at the Stanford King Center has attracted three top professors in their fields: Solomon Hsiang, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at University of California, Berkeley, Fabrizio Zilibotti, the Tuntex Professor of International and Development Economics at Yale University, and Seema Jayachandran, Professor of Economics at Northwestern University.

“Without the visitor’s program, I would not have even been close to making the research advances or having the policy impact that I was able to muster during my sabbatical,” said Hsiang. “While at the Stanford King Center, I was able to focus on several long-term projects, publishing work that collects and synthesizes large and disparate literatures for the first time.”

Hsiang combines data with mathematical models to understand how society and the environment influence one another. In particular, he focuses on how policy can encourage economic development while managing the global climate. During his time visiting the Stanford King Center, Hsiang was able to collaborate with leading experts in multiple fields, including recent co-authors David Lobell, professor of earth system science, and Chris Field, environmental studies professor and director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

As for the future, Hashemi continues to support the Stanford King Center through her service on the SIEPR Advisory Board. She also enjoys staying apprised on the latest research, attending events like the center’s ongoing “Speaker Series”, and connecting with students about their transformative experiences in the field. She hopes others will follow her lead.

 “I would recommend getting involved by attending the many great programs and lectures, much as I did a decade ago,” said Hashemi. “Take an interest in the research, read the papers, and talk to the students and faculty. Give yourself time to fall in love with the research and the people. It’ll be easy, and it won’t take that long because their work is important, and they do it well.”

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