Cornell University

International Programs

117 Ives Hall, 607-254-7255


January 29 2007

The Waks Family Fund Continues to Make an Important Difference

Jay and Harriet WaksIn 2004, recognizing the importance of international studies and labor economics to ILR, Jay (ILR '68 and LAW '71) and Harriet Waks created The Waks Family Fund for International Education and Research. This important gift is in honor of their children, Allison (ILR '08) and Jonathan (Yale '04 & Harvard Medical School '08), and their respective interests in international studies.

Jay and Harriet's hope was to "facilitate the development of new initiatives aimed at enhancing ILR's visibility in the international arena and, through research and educational opportunities, particularly in Asia, expand our understanding of the globalization of work." It has done just that. In 2005 their gift allowed ILR to convene a public seminar that brought specialists on labor, workers' human rights, and responsible investment in China to Ithaca, and in 2006 the Waks Family Fund helped an ILR undergraduate become the school’s first credited intern in China.   

It is with enormous gratitude that ILR International Programs (IP) acknowledges the family’s renewed support in 2007. Professor Sarosh Kuruvilla, chair of the IP faculty committee, said, “The Waks Family Fund has played a very important role in facilitating the increased focus of the ILR School on China. Not only have we managed to create internship opportunities, but we recruited a China scholar last year, and are currently trying to recruit a second one. Further, we are working on creating a network of China labor scholars from around the world and the Waks Fund will be extremely useful in sustaining that network and thereby producing a stream of scholarship on China labor issues over the coming years. We are currently applying for grants/funding to hold the first major China labor conference next year (an important way of kicking off the research network). If we obtain the required funding, this conference will be held in 2008.”

In renewing this support in 2007, Jay Waks spoke on behalf of the family in saying, "We truly are delighted that our fund initiative, in its three short years, has spurred others to focus on ILR's International Programs and been able to give prominence to China-centric scholarship at ILR and send ILR's first credited intern to China. This is the beginning of a great chapter in ILR's mission."

The School thanks the Waks Family for their generous and steadfast support, and looks forward to tackling international projects that otherwise would not be possible.

We also want to congratulate Jay for being named recipient of the ILR School's 2007 Groat Award!