Jianguo Chen, Confucius Institute director, welcomes students.

US-China Student Forum

UD collaborates with Chinese universities to share a liberal arts experience

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2:03 p.m., April 29, 2014--The 2014 U.S.-China Student Forum (USCSF), a joint project between the University of Delaware, East China Normal University (ECN), and Xiamen University (XU), began April 28 and will continue through May 9 on the UD campus.

The forum aims to advance cross-cultural cooperation, increase understanding and inclusiveness, and promote exchanges between students in both countries. 

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According to co-directors Matt Kinservik and Jianguo Chen, the ultimate objective is to initiate dialogue across the Chinese and American cultures and deepen friendship between the two countries. 

This year’s forum theme, “Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Humanities,” explores the many facets of the liberal arts. 

“Liberal arts is a uniquely American concept,” Provost Domenico Grasso told the visiting students. “I hope you take advantage and enjoy the unique experience this University has to offer.”

The forum will be held annually, rotating among host institutions. Future plans may include opportunities for graduate students. 

“We want UD to be a leader in the region and become the center for this type of collaboration,” said Chen, director of the Confucius Institute and associate professor of Chinese Studies. “We hope to invite other U.S. institutions in the future to join us as a part of the U.S.-China bond, and increase visibility.”

Participants in the forum will discuss and debate the status of the humanities in the educational systems in China and the U.S., the importance of humanistic study in increasingly technological workplaces, and the role of humanities education in an open society.

Kinservik, professor and associate dean for the humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “There is a value in exposure to differences. A diversity of learning leads to lifelong learning.”

Ten students from ECNU and XMU are staying with homestay families and will participate in lectures, cultural excursions and a final debate and presentations in relation to the theme of the forum. 

Throughout the two weeks, UD students will work alongside the visiting students to promote global understanding and open discussions, comparing similarities and differences between cultures and educational structures.

“By doing this we are building a bridge between the United States and China,”said Chen. “This forum can help students learn to be open-minded and to collaborate, globalized by vision and contributing to international efforts for a better world.”

During their time in the U.S., the students will visit New York City, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, as well as numerous Delaware sites, including Winterthur, the Hagley Museum and Library, and Historic Old New Castle.

More information about the U.S.-China Student Forum can be found at this website

Students will be documenting their experiences using #USChinaSF on social media. A collection of these posts can also be seen on the forum’s Storify page

Through its global initiative, the University of Delaware is focused on strengthening ties and furthering collaboration with partnering universities. The relationship between the College of Arts and Sciences and Chinese institutions has been nurtured for years through the efforts of many UD faculty and senior administrators, including Kinservik, Chen, CAS Dean George Watson, and McKay Jenkins, Cornelius A. Tilghman Professor of English, among others.  

USCSF is sponsored by the Confucius Institute, College of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Global Studies, and Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

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