Paula S. Harrell

A China-Japan historian (PhD, Columbia University) by training, Ive spent part of my career in academia, part in development assistance work designing projects primarily but not exclusively focused on China.

Photo of Paula S. Harrell

A China-Japan historian (PhD, Columbia University) by training, I've spent part of my career in academia, part in development assistance work designing projects primarily but not exclusively focused on China. In my academic role, I've taught at the University of Maryland, Dickinson, and Georgetown and published two books on modern China-Japan relations: Asia for the Asians (MerwinAsia/WEAI-Columbia University, 2012) and Sowing the Seeds of Change (Stanford University, 1992).


In the economic development sphere, I've served as a project analyst/adviser for USAID Jordan, Harrell Partners, LLC, and the World Bank's China Department. Working with the Bank during the initial phase of China's "reform and opening," I participated in the preparation, appraisal, negotiation, and supervision of some 15 Bank-financed projects in education and agriculture. These included loans to improve agricultural research, strengthen rural credit facilities, build irrigation systems, and develop specialized product sub-sectors such as fisheries and forestry. In carrying out project work, I traveled to nearly all of China' provinces/regions. Contributions to field reporting included analysis for the Bank's initial planning document for poverty reduction projects in China, "China: Strategies for Reducing Poverty in the 1990s" (World Bank, 1993).


Since 2008 I’ve been on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown’s SCS teaching courses on China’s economy, most recently “China’s Rise to Economic Power” and “China and the Internet.” Drawing on my many years of Japan research, I also provide commentary online and in public talks in DC and Honolulu on the topic of China, Japan and the prospects for regional stability.