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College chiefs share ideas at forum
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-03 00:30

University presidents from across China and the globe will gather in Beijing Wednesday to attend an international forum on topics such as college development, academic research and the commercialization of research findings, Ministry of Education said Monday.

It s the second such event since the inaugural event in Beijing two years ago. .

Universities have become an active part of a nation's economic and technological development,Vice-Minister of Education Zhang Xinsheng.

Presidents of well-known universities, such as Peking University and Yale University of the United States will deliver speeches on college development.

Yale, with more than 150 years of Chinese relations has helped train many Chinese scholars and students, and will extend its co-operative efforts in the future, its President Richard Levin said in an interview with China Daily.

Levin will speak on Wednesday.

He said Yale has established partnerships with 45 Chinese universities, governmental departments and research institutions.

In the past two years, Yale Professor Tian Xu has been working with Fudan University colleagues to develop the Fox Fellowship Programme, which undertakes research to understand the molecular mechanisms of human disease, including cancer, neurodegeneration and hypoxia.

At Peking University, Professor Deng Xingwang of Yale has established a research partnership in the area of plant genetics and agricultural biotechnology, according to Levin.

In addition, the Yale Law School, together with several Chinese law schools, has set up a China Law Centre to develop a leadership programme in the field of environmental and sustainable development.

"We hope to build more educational programmes with Chinese universities and educational institutions," Levin explained.

Levin said his university and China's Ministry of Education will hold an Advanced University Leadership Programme in the United States in late August.

"By bringing together presidents or other senior officials from Chinese universities, we will not only help strengthen the ties between Yale and China but also help develop these world-class educational institutions," he said.

Yale's ties with China started as early as in 1850 with the arrival of Yung Wing at Yale, who graduated in 1854 as the first Chinese scholar obtaining a degree from an American university.

After returning to China, Yung Wing advocated adopting many aspects of Western education. In 1872, he organized a Chinese education mission which sent hundreds of young Chinese students to study in the United States.

Following his graduation, many Chinese came to New Haven to receive a Yale education. Graduates from Yale University have greatly influenced China's educational development. For example, the first threes presidents of Tsinghua University had studied in Yale and the founder of Shanghai-based Fudan University was also a Yale graduate.

Levin said China's leading universities have become increasingly important, not just for Yale, but also for other distinguished universities of the world, due to China's significant role on the world stage and its rapidly growing economy.

He said at Yale University, the main hope is that a student graduate with the ability to think critically and independently. The curriculum is designed to cultivate its students' intellect and expand their capacity to reason and to empathize. Levin suggested that Chinese universities do more to nurture students' creativity, and not just let students recite facts, or be obedient listeners and regard teachers as experts.

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