The University of Washington will open an office in Beijing, officials announced Wednesday. The new office, announced in conjunction with...
The University of Washington will open an office in Beijing, officials announced Wednesday.
The new office, announced in conjunction with a campus visit by Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, will serve as a liaison among UW officials, the Chinese government and Chinese universities. The office is expected to open in the fall.
“The idea is we think we can do better by actually having a presence in Beijing,” said UW spokesman Norm Arkans.
In the past year, UW officials have stepped up their efforts to establish a relationship between the university and the Chinese government. UW President Mark Emmert said the university has talked with the Chinese education and health ministries about working together.
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He said, for example, there is interest by Chinese health officials to work with faculty from the UW’s new global-health department on prevention of epidemics.
Last summer, Emmert visited China for 10 days. That came after an April 2006 meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit to Seattle.
Last year, the UW declined an invitation from a Chinese delegation to build a 10,000-student campus in Nanjing. Emmert’s original plan was to open a UW office in Shanghai, but the location later shifted to Beijing.
Washington state has significant economic connections with China, Emmert said, and businesses here want a workforce ready to do business with the country’s growing economy.
“When we talked to local business leaders, they were keenly interested in having our students and our alumni be prepared in an international setting, especially in China,” Emmert said Wednesday. “A UW young grad will most likely have Chinese colleagues regardless of field.”
Emmert said UW’s Beijing office also will serve students studying abroad in China, which he said is not as “student-friendly as Europe” because of language barriers. In the 2005-06 school year, the university sent more than 120 students to China.
Emmert said he hopes the university eventually can expand from an office to classrooms for UW students in China.
He also announced on Wednesday the appointment of Hank T. Wang, a former Chinese military official, as the UW’s “first special adviser on China and Asia.” Wang works for Garvey Schubert Barer, a law firm with offices in Seattle, Beijing and other U.S. cities.
Manuel Valdes: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-748-5874.