China-US educational partnership has bright future, say academic

By Yan Yunming and Yu Haoyuan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/3 16:43:39

Educators showed optimism on US-China educational exchange on the sidelines of Committee of 100 Leadership Scholarship Program Awards Ceremony on December 2 in Beijing.

David Moser, associate dean of Yenching Academy of Peking University, told Global Times that China-US relations are vital to educational exchange programs that can be implemented only if both sides are willing to cooperate. People, Moser believes, are realizing the increasing importance of educational exchange between the two countries. Trade talks, trade wars and allegations about suspicious activities such as spying "should not affect the overall cooperation," Moser said.

Wendy Kuran, associate vice president for development for Duke Kunshan University and Duke in China, is also full of hope about US-China educational exchange. She noted that China is stepping up to change some educational infrastructure, for instance, there are an increasing number of courses in English and internships available to international students. For example, at Duke Kunshan University, courses are taught in English and almost 40 percent of the student body is international. "China's tremendous desire to host American or other international students is really paying off", Kuran told the Global Times.

In order to attract more American and other international students to study in China, Kuran said, what is needed is help American citizens and students realize that studying in China is a great choice which can provide them with a life-changing experience. There are challenges though, Kuran pointed out, with funding being one of them. She suggested it would help if society funds students who don't have enough money to study abroad.

Moser thinks China has to strengthen soft power. He believes that "it usually takes generations to create soft power, and it must be created from the bottom-up." Thus, he suggested that China should "explore more freedom for foreign researchers… host more academic seminars to increase superstructure" and "create interactions between Chinese students and foreign students."

In Moser's view, Chinese schools should focus on teaching "Chinese culture, recent history, reform and opening-up policy and Chinese language" to help foreign researchers get different perspectives on China, and "shape a way of talking about China." Chinese students studying in the US, says Moser, should make efforts to socialize with foreigners instead of only mixing with their Chinese friends. "You may think that you know a lot about American culture, but you will learn a lot more," said Moser.

The Committee of 100 is a leadership organization of Chinese Americans whose stated aim is "to encourage constructive relations between the peoples of the United States and Greater China." On December 2, Committee of 100 Leadership Scholarship Program Awards Ceremony was held, during which Chinese and American experts participated in a panel discussion on US-China educational exchange. Experts said that remarkable progress has been made after the reform and opening-up of China and the bilateral educational exchange will develop further.

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