As a business graduate of Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah began his career as an accountant at a motor assembly plant in Malaysia. In 1974, he founded and started Sunway Group. From a small tin-mining company, Sunway Group has thrived to become one of Malaysia’s largest property-construction companies.
And although Sunway’s specialty over the years has been in building property, Dr. Cheah has channeled his success with Sunway into building of a different kind: Building the future of Malaysia through education.
The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation is the first-of-its-kind in Malaysia within the field of private higher education, modeled along the lines of one of the oldest and most eminent universities in the world, Harvard University.
In conjunction with this, the Jeffrey Cheah Institute of Research on South-East Asia (JCIR-SEA) has been set-up in Sunway University to facilitate a two-way flow of faculty and scholars between Harvard University and institutions in the Sunway Education Group (SEG), to support and advance research, conferences and workshops related to South-East Asia studies, as well as through other scholarship collaborations, joint publications and joint applications for research grants.
The JCIR-SEA acts as a catalyst in promoting the SEG and Sunway University in particular, as an attractive hub for studies on South-East Asia and help to develop and upgrade academic standards of teaching and research in both Sunway Education institutions and in Malaysia.
The JCIR-SEA also seeks to become the foremost independent research centre globally in the study of South-East Asia in the social sciences. It aims to be a public policy think tank in that social science research will be used to contribute to the advancement of the South-East Asian societies.
“It is my hope that the establishment of this linkage with Harvard through the establishment of Professorships, and the Jeffrey Cheah Institute of Research, will provide the impetus to strengthen Malaysia as a centre for educational and research excellence in the study of South-East Asia as a growing influence in the global community”, said Tan Sri Cheah.