MADISON– To follow up on Chancellor Biddy Martin’s two visits to China in 2010, a delegation from the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Division of International Studies is traveling there this month to continue the university’s efforts to expand and deepen connections in this important region of the world.
“The economic, social and cultural changes in China … make it imperative that all of us learn more about China, spend time there and engage with the Chinese people,” Martin wrote last year, after her first visit. “It’s an exciting place to be and an important place to understand.”
The latest delegation is led by Gilles Bousquet, dean of International Studies and vice provost for globalization, who accompanied Martin to China last year. The group will visit Shanghai (May 19-24), Hangzhou (May 24-26), Hong Kong (May 26-29), and Beijing (May 29-June 2).
“We are making this trip as part of our long-term investment in relationships with China,” says Bousquet. “Such relationships require frequent and sustained engagement in order for a university to establish meaningful ties.”
Martin’s trips resulted in a surge of reciprocal visits to the Madison campus, he notes.
“We have hosted visits by presidents of such top universities as Shanghai Jiao Tong and Zhejiang University. Provincial governors and professional groups—including transplant surgeons and ophthalmologists in recent weeks—have come to Madison to take a look at us,” Bousquet says.
“We will continue to reach out to a wide range of people and institutions in China, including educational leaders, alumni, and business and government officials,” he says. “These ties establish Wisconsin as a partner of choice for educational and cultural exchanges, as well as in fast-developing business areas, such as the bio-medical field.”
The growing relationships already have led to new internship opportunities. This summer, for example, at least nine UW–Madison students are interning in China with Wisconsin companies, a Wisconsin-based environmental NGO, a Chinese law firm, and the Wall Street Journal Asia.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Champions program, which brings Olympic and world champion athletes from China to study at UW–Madison and learn about the United States, has brought increased Chinese media attention for Wisconsin.
Bousquet and Amy Stambach, associate dean of International Studies and professor of educational policy studies and anthropology, will represent the university at the annual meeting of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), in Shanghai. UW–Madison is a founding member of WUN, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Also joining Bousquet on this trip will be two International Studies staff members—Laurie Dennis, associate director of the Wisconsin China Initiative, and David Joiner, director for Global Engagement and Leadership—who have experience in China and speak Chinese.
In addition to the WUN gathering, the itinerary for the UW–Madison representatives includes co-hosting a one-day conference on global higher education with Zheijiang University; meetings with alumni in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong, and with representatives of Wisconsin businesses in China; establishing and advancing relationships with several educational institutions; and investigating additional ways for UW–Madison to expand its presence in China.
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— Kerry G. Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-262-5590