The weekend in Shanghai

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by Larry Moneta, November 11, 2012

Thumbnail Lots to share…two days of activity to recount. Saturday was quite a full day on the Shanghai University campus. Before I talk about our formal meetings, I should point out that the campus annually features a chrysanthemum festival (which happens to be happening this week) and the massive and beautiful gardens, displays and much more are simply breathtaking. I have way too many pictures so will post just a couple to convey the scope of this event.

The meetings with university personnel (Shanghai Univ was heavily represented, but we me with people from many other schools as well) was quite formal with opening speeches by the Shanghai Univ president and Peter Negroni from the College Board. We then heard talks from three other Chinese college faculty/administrators and then talks from three US delegate including yours truly. I spoke on how American colleges and universities are preparing students for the global economy both in and out of the classroom.

Clearly, the Chinese higher ed institutions are eager to establish partnerships and would have been happy to sign various agreements right then and there. It will be interesting to see how the College Board and Hanban follow up on these conversations to further promote cooperation and collaboration between US and Chinese colleges and universities.

We ended the evening at an elegant banquet featuring an abundance of toasts, warm camaraderie and further invitations for return visits and formal partnerships. The array of food offered was amazing but my favorite mela so far was the ‘lunch box’ provided earlier in the day. Check out the picture of my vegan version.

Sunday was reserved mostly for Shanghai sightseeing and we spent the morning enjoying the amazing views from the TV Tower. The glass floored deck was particularly ‘stimulating’ so check out the photo of my toes hanging out over the viewing platform. I the afternoon we visited Nanjing Street where we could clearly observe the health of the Chinese economy, at least for the million or so people strolling the avenue and packing the shops. Interestingly, as I type this CNN has begun a story on the two sides of China – those with money, and the many others who struggle to get by.

Finally, I peeled of from the group dinner last night and joined a few other Duke colleagues for dinner at a local (and delightful) restaurant. Some are here for continued work on the development of the Duke Kunshan University project as well as to further advance study away opportunities here and throughout the region. That we are truly a global university is more and more apparent.

One more day of school visits today (I’m writing this early Monday morning) before Tuesday morning’s flight back to Beijing. Until next time, xie xie…

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