With an itinerary bound to wear the soles off any Chinese “Lily Foot” shoe, University President Mark Yudof and other University delegates left today for a 15-day journey to China to promote and reestablish educational, business and alumni ties spanning decades.
Following up a China visit about 18 months ago, the delegation will visit universities and research centers to discuss and solidify exchange opportunities with the University’s biological sciences department, Carlson School of Management and Law School.
While the institutions already have a long-standing relationship, the exchange agreements signed by Yudof and Chinese education leaders will formalize and strengthen their commitments.
Citing common interests in China and the University’s biological sciences department, such as decoding the rice genome, Dean Robert Elde said the two countries have a great opportunity to learn from each other.
“Science in China is growing dramatically, so they are very eager to have opportunities with American institutions,” Elde said.
With the challenging problems China faces with previously damaged ecosystems and endangered species, University exchange students will have a unique opportunity to study an ecological system very different from that in the United States.
Another major exchange agreement will be signed between the Carlson School of Management and Lingnan College — the University’s partner school in Guangzhou, China. With official sanction granted to the Carlson School by the Chinese Ministry of Education, the school is certified to operate an executive master’s of business administration program in China, Dean David Kidwell said.
The exchange program “helps our faculty who go over and teach the international programs become more internationalized and have a more global view of the world, a global view of their profession, and of course bring that back into the classroom to our students,” Kidwell said.
Since the first Chinese student enrollment in 1914, the University has remained in the forefront of all United States universities with about 1,400 Chinese students currently on campus and 8,000 Chinese alumni in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.
“China is going to be an important world power in the coming of the 21st century,” said China Center director Hong Yang. “It is important to, of course, work with China closely, … that we increase our mutual understanding. So I think the University of Minnesota could be a leader in this endeavor. Of course, China is very much pleased to be part of this.”
Other trip plans include discussions about the possible loan of Chinese art exhibits and a panda bear. Yudof will also receive honorary professorships at two Chinese universities.
The journey to China, Yudof said, “fits in with the whole program of making our students more worldly, making our campus more worldly, exchanging knowledge with people around the world, and having relationships with foreign universities that we can build upon.”
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