University of Chicago to Open New Center in Beijing

President Robert J. Zimmer in Beijing.

The Center will open on Sept. 15, with Nobel laureates and other leading scholars discussing their collaborations and their latest work in economics, paleontology, music, medical education and other topics.

President Robert J. Zimmer said the Center in Beijing represents the University’s long–term commitment to build relationships in China to foster research and education and to exchange and test ideas that will benefit scholars, students and society.

“The Center in Beijing will be an intellectual destination and a permanent base for University of Chicago scholarship in China,” Zimmer said at an April 26 announcement event in Beijing. “After more than a century of significant research collaborations between China and Chicago, the Center will provide a focus for building upon that legacy.”

The Center will promote scholarship through three broad programs: business, economics and policy; science, medicine and public health; and culture, society and the arts. It will house the University’s Civilization Abroad program for College students, and will offer an extensive language training program. It will involve all the University’s areas of study, including the professional schools.

Located in the Haidian District of Beijing, amid major universities, research academies and government agencies, the 23,000–square–foot Center will provide space for seminars and conferences, as well as faculty offices and study areas. It will host Chinese students and scholars, and serve as a base for Chicago students and faculty working at other institutions in Beijing and throughout the region.

“As China undergoes its remarkable transformation, there has never been a more important time for scholars from the U.S. to form fruitful partnerships with their counterparts in China and the region,” said Dali Yang, the founding faculty director of the Center, a professor of political science at the University and an expert in the political economy of China. “The presence of the Chicago Center will allow us to promote a broad range of exchanges and collaborations above and beyond what we have been able to do so far.”

Provost Thomas Rosenbaum appointed Yang to the three–year leadership post after Yang chaired a faculty committee that recommended creation of the center in 2008. University trustees approved the creation of the Center last year.

The Center in Beijing will be an ambitious step in building the University’s international presence. In 2004, the University of Chicago opened its Center in Paris, which brings Chicago faculty overseas to teach University of Chicago curriculum across the disciplines, embracing the rigor and values of the University, while benefiting from the proximity of scholars working in Europe. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business has campuses in London and Singapore, where Chicago faculty teach in degree–granting programs. And the University’s Oriental Institute has a headquarters in Luxor, Egypt known as “Chicago House.”

An ad hoc faculty committee also has proposed that the University consider establishing a facility in India.

The Center in Beijing will capitalize on a strong body of work already under way. The faculty committee that recommended the Center catalogued dozens of ongoing research partnerships between Chicago scholars and their Chinese counterparts. Examples range from Dr. Janet Rowley’s work on leukemia with leading Chinese hospitals to Prof. Paul Sereno’s partnerships with Chinese paleontologists studying dinosaurs. Chicago undergraduates currently have opportunities to study language and Asian civilization with University of Chicago faculty in Beijing, one of nine such Civilization Abroad programs that focus on the intellectual heritage of locations around the world. Graduate students in China do fieldwork in anthropology, history and a host of other studies across the region.

The Center in Beijing is a wholly owned foreign enterprise operating by the name of UCHICAGO (北京) 咨询有限公司. Day–to–day operations will be guided by the Center’s executive director, Beth Bader, who previously managed Chicago Booth’s Singapore campus. The Center in Beijing will not grant degrees.

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The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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