Notre Dame International hosts virtual week in China, creates and renews student and research opportunities

Author: Colleen Wilcox

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Due to travel restrictions to China, Notre Dame International hosted a week-long series of virtual meetings and events to celebrate partnerships and create new opportunities in higher education with Chinese institutions and organizations. Michael Pippenger, vice president and associate provost for internationalization, attended eleven meetings from April 18 – 21, 2022, with Chinese universities and institutions, university partners, alumni groups, and donors for the Greater China Scholars program.

In addition, Pippenger signed two new agreements and renewed two ongoing agreements with Chinese institutions.

“As the pandemic has continued to make travel to Mainland China and Hong Kong challenging, we felt a need to connect with our university partners, alumni clubs, parents of current students, and new incoming students to show Notre Dame's continued deep commitment to the region,” says Pippenger.

“Specifically, we wanted to thank university partners in China for hosting our Chinese students during the pandemic on our Study Away Locally program when they were unable to return to campus.

"The virtual trip has been a wonderful way to reconnect and show solidarity with the Notre Dame family in China.”

Pippenger added that there are several new initiatives underway to increase student and faculty mobility between Notre Dame and China. He also thanked alumni and parents’ associations for their continued support of the Beijing Global Gateway and Hong Kong Global Center.

Highlights from the meetings include: 

  • Agreement signing: University-level Memorandum of Understanding and NDI Global Engagement Program agreement with Wuhan University
  • Agreement renewal signing: Graduate student scholarship agreement with the China Scholarship Council, doubling the number of doctoral students supported by the Council 
  • Acknowledge undergraduate student exchange and partnership achievements with Nanjing University supported by the University-level Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2020. Recognize the School of Architecture and Urban Planning’s assistance for Study Away Locally program in 2020
  • Hosted a Greater China Scholars Program’s appreciation event, celebrating the achievements of the program and recognizing the benefactors for their generous contributions and continuous support
  • Discuss new collaboration opportunities, such as research grants, with Chinese University of Hong Kong and recognize ongoing undergraduate student exchange
  • Recognize Peking University’s assistance with the Study Away Locally program in fall 2020 and ongoing undergraduate student exchange, conduct virtual signing ceremony for renewal of University-level Memorandum of Understanding
  • Share updates with the Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China alumni and parents
  • Discuss ongoing undergraduate student exchanges and collaboration opportunities with Southern University of Science and Technology, University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
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The University of Notre Dame signed two new agreements with Wuhan University (WHU) and explored potential faculty and student collaborations. The signing of the agreement marks the formal establishment of the partnership and collaboration between both universities.

"Both Wuhan University and the University of Notre Dame are prestigious national universities with a wide range of academic disciplines as well as distinctive features and strengths, which provide a solid foundation for the two universities to further explore collaborations,” says WU Ping, vice president of Wuhan University.

“At the new starting point, I hope the two universities will continue to deepen the friendship and encourage the exchanges and visits among students and scholars, in order to make more achievements in education and research collaborations."

Notre Dame also renewed the agreement already established with the China Scholarship Council, which was originally signed in 2013 to jointly support up to 20 Chinese students per year to enroll at Notre Dame Ph.D. programs. The new agreement supports up to 40 doctoral students per year. In the fall 2021, there were 342 Chinese graduate students enrolled at Notre Dame. The number of Chinese graduate students has increased 31% in the past 10 years.

“Before the tenth anniversary of the collaboration between the two parties, we are very pleased that we agreed to continue our cooperation and renewed the agreement,” says SHENG Jianxue, secretary-general of the China Scholarship Council. “The agreement consolidated the partnership between the two parties and opened a new chapter for us in the future. The China Scholarship Council looks forward to more talented Chinese students applying for the China Scholarship Council-Notre Dame Joint Scholarship to continue their education at the University of Notre Dame."

In addition, the virtual events recognized Peking University’s (PKU) International Office and Guanghua School of Management’s assistance for the Study Away Locally program in the fall 2020 and the ongoing undergraduate student exchange Both universities discussed enhancing collaboration in Ethics, Technology, and Philosophy to further deepen the relationship between Notre Dame and PKU.

“Peking University and the University of Notre Dame have cooperated closely in various fields in recent years,” comments WANG Bo, the vice president for internationalization at PKU. “We hope that the two universities can take the opportunity of the renewal of the agreement to integrate more academic resources and further expand the space for cooperation.”

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