U.S. education exchange program promoters committed to operations in China

(Xinhua) 10:05, May 13, 2021

NEW YORK, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The promoters of multiple U.S. education exchange programs have said that they are committed to their long-standing operations in China despite the deterioration in the Sino-U.S. relationship.

Developments in the Sino-U.S. relationship "have not had a substantial impact on the work we do," John Smagula, assistant dean for graduate and international programs at Temple University, said Tuesday evening at a panel discussion organized by the Committee of 100, a non-profit organization of prominent Chinese Americans.

Smagula said, "At this time, I just do not see any downside for more Chinese students to be learning English, more U.S. students learning Chinese to be able to better understand what each other's academic institutions are producing, and then to be able to increase that dialogue to be talking about the sharing of ideas, because there are so many things that we have in common."

Temple University has been adding additional courses and bringing on additional faculty in response to more interests in trial advocacy, dispute resolution and compliance in China, said Smagula, referring to a law degree program jointly presented by Temple University and Tsinghua University.

Teaching just has no real downside for either country and "can only serve as a bridge as part of our overall mission to reduce that distance between the countries," said Smagula.

Regardless of what happens in the global landscape and domestic political arrangements, "I think this point of contact between English speaking and Chinese speaking academic universe will remain relevant," said Adam K. Webb, American co-director of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, a joint educational venture between Johns Hopkins University and China's Nanjing University.

Webb said this center is not a political partnership or political venture and it's about engagement between societies and about creating an intellectual space.

Webb added as long as academic principles appeal, "I think we tend to be here for the long term."

The Eisenhower Fellowships, a private, non-profit leadership organization based in the United States, continues its work virtually and doesn't stop hosting Chinese fellows despite the deterioration in U.S.-China relations, said George de Lama, president of the Eisenhower Fellowships.

"China is an integral part of our mission around the world ... We have to keep this channel open," said de Lama.

De Lama said, "As long as we can, we're gonna try to keep doing this. And we hope that circumstances will allow us to continue this important work."

Given the deterioration in U.S.-China relations now, it's even more important to engage in dialogue and to continue to build trust and understanding, according to de Lama.

"We stand ready to do its part and will strive to continue to do this for as long as circumstances allow us to uphold," said de Lama, referring to the communication and dialogue between the United States and China.

A number of U.S. universities have opened campuses or offered programs in China while a large number of Chinese students study in the United States.

(Web editor: Shi Xi, Liang Jun)


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