The hottest ticket at Yale University this week? Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The Sprague Hall, where he will make the speech at 11:30 am on Saturday local time, can house just 600 people. This means only a small number of students and faculty members will get tickets, most through a lucky draw, according to Yale President Richard C. Levin.
"The lucky persons are mostly those who are studying China-related subjects or representatives from associations of Chinese students at the university," Levin was quoted by the International Herald Leader as saying.
Students and faculty members without tickets will be able to view Hu's speech live on television or via the University website, according to Levin.
Hu is expected to take questions from both students and China experts at the university.
Likely topics will include China's legal system, globalization and rural change, the paper reported. Yale University is US President George W. Bush's alma mater.
"We are pleased that President Hu will be coming to Yale," Levin said in a press release on the university's official website.
"It will add a new chapter to the long history of Yale's links with China and provide our community with an important perspective on China today."
Yale is the only university on Hu's tight schedule and comes after yesterday's meeting with President Bush.
"It's a huge event. No doubt about it," Deborah Davis, a professor of Sociology at Yale, was quoted as saying by New Haven Register.com.
There is no dispute as to China's significance in the world, said Davis, who is also a member of the National Committee on Sino-US Relations.
"It's the main player in the global economy. You can't do anything at a global level without including China," he said.
Following Hu's speech, five distinguished Yale experts including Davis will hold a panel discussion on different aspects of China's role in the world.
Yale's relationship with China dates to 1854, when Rong Hong (Yung Wing) became the first Chinese citizen to graduate from the American university.
There are currently more than 300 Chinese students at Yale, while another 300 undergraduates are enrolled in Chinese language classes, with many more participating in various exchange programmes.
Yale also has two major biomedical research centres at Peking University.
(China Daily 04/21/2006 page2)