Provost Thomas Burish to lead visit to China, celebrate opening of Beijing Global Gateway

Author: Dennis Brown

Chinatitleslide 01 FeatureNotre Dame in China


To celebrate the opening of its new Beijing Global Gateway location at the Genesis Beijing complex, the University of Notre Dame will host a series of inauguration events Oct. 14 (Saturday) to welcome faculty, students, alumni, families and partners in China.


Celebratory activities will include a panel discussion featuring prominent leaders in business and higher education from the U.S. and China titled, “Building Future Communities,” as well as a performance by the Notre Dame Handbell Choir and a Mass.


Thomas G. Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer Provost of Notre Dame, will lead a contingent of University officials on a weeklong visit to China beginning Oct. 8 (Sunday) and culminating with the opening of the new Beijing Global Gateway facility. The delegation also will visit Hong Kong and Chengdu in western China.


“For the past 11 years, our president, Father John Jenkins, and I have made internationalization and research two of our highest priorities,” Burish said. “That is why we established Notre Dame International, which oversees our Global Gateways, as well as the University’s international programs.

“We did this because in today’s hyper-connected world scholarship is rarely conducted in an isolated environment. Students at Notre Dame can only have the opportunity to flourish if they interact with fellow students who have grown up in different nations or cultures. They also flourish by having distinctive and transformational international experiences throughout the world in places such as China.”

In addition to the global gateway celebration, the visit to Beijing will include meetings with leaders of Peking University; Tian Xuejun, the Chinese vice minister for education; and Terry Branstad, U.S. ambassador to China.

“The inauguration events celebrate the expansion of the Beijing Global Gateway’s space, programming and community,” said Jonathan Noble, assistant provost for Asia and director of the Beijing Global Gateway. “This expansion represents an important milestone in continuing to advance Notre Dame’s academic engagement in China.”

Since 2010, Noble has been building Notre Dame’s academic reputation and network of partners in the region. The University has forged academic cooperation agreements with several leading universities in greater China, including the University of Hong Kong, Tsinghua University and Peking University.

Noble and colleagues have developed a wide range of programs for students, including options focused on Chinese language and society, business, engineering and service learning in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guizhou. Notre Dame students also have additional professional opportunities, thanks to programming between the Beijing Global Gateway and multi-nationals such as IBM and Xiaomi. Working closely with China’s Ministry of Education, the gateway provides training programs for university administrators and scholarships for doctoral and postdoctoral students.

Scholarships for Chinese students who wish to attend Notre Dame are also available, thanks to the Greater China Scholars Program. Since 2011, 58 students from 31 cities in China have benefited from scholarships and academic enrichment programs that are supported by a cohort of Notre Dame alumni, parents and friends. More recently, Notre Dame launched the alumni-funded Greater China Collaboration Grant program, which provides funding for faculty to conduct research with scholars in China and share research findings at the Beijing Global Gateway.

“The Beijing Global Gateway is a vital part of Notre Dame’s commitment to strengthening internationalization, scholarly engagement and cooperation throughout the world,” Burish said. “Working with our partners in Asia, our goal is to provide an opportunity for our students and faculty to work with colleagues in that part of the world to promote discovery and understanding.”

The inauguration of the new Beijing Global Gateway location in the Chaoyang District, near foreign embassies and the Central Business District, will further enhance opportunities for collaboration with government, academic and multinational organizations.

Michael E. Pippenger, Notre Dame’s vice president and associate provost for internationalization, said: “The Beijing Global Gateway serves as a platform for faculty to hold conferences and workshops with collaborative researchers and scholars, as a base for students from a wide range of disciplines to experience and engage with China, and as a home that welcomes the Notre Dame community from Beijing and beyond.”


Since its doors opened in May, the gateway has hosted Fulbright scholars, panel discussions, and meetings between Notre Dame and Balkh University in Afghanistan as they develop a master’s program in finance and accountancy for Balkh, funded by a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. In June, nearly 40 Notre Dame students, alumni and parents visited the gateway as part of the first summer celebration and forum co-sponsored with the University’s Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.


One of Notre Dame’s key partners in its growing Chinese network is Genesis Beijing, a community development project that shares Notre Dame’s commitment to developing intellectual communities focused on serving the common good. Genesis Beijing – an office complex featuring two towers, a hotel and museum – now houses the Beijing Global Gateway and provides a social workplace that also includes public gardens, atriums and club facilities where Notre Dame can host regional partners and where there is space to communicate and collaborate.


Burish and other Notre Dame officials will begin their trip in Hong Kong, meeting with leaders of the Notre Dame Club of Hong Kong to express the University’s appreciation for their work on behalf of the University and discuss ongoing and new initiatives. They also will meet with leadership of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, an organization that has donated more than $2 billion to education, medical services and research initiatives worldwide, including the Greater China Scholars Program at Notre Dame, and with representatives of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong.

In Chengdu in western China, Burish will discuss current and potential partnerships with Sichuan University, the leading institution for higher education in that part of the country. Since 2014, Notre Dame International has hosted about 20 Chinese students for summer research programs and semester study abroad. Notre Dame faculty also have served as visiting scholars and/or Fulbright Scholars at Sichuan.

The contingent also will meet with Jim Mullinax, the U.S. consul general who manages U.S.-China relations in western China, and Notre Dame alumni and parents in the region.

Burish has been Notre Dame’s chief academic officer since 2005. A Notre Dame alumnus and professor of clinical psychology, he previously served as president of Washington and Lee University and as the longest-serving provost in Vanderbilt University’s history.

Burish will be accompanied on the China trip by Michael Pippenger, vice president and associate provost for internationalization; Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications; Roger Huang, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business; Catherine Leung, director of the Hong Kong Global Center; and Michael Loungo, senior director of academic and global advancement.

At the Oct. 14 inauguration events, Notre Dame will welcome several key partners, including Whitney Duan, founder of Genesis Beijing and chairwoman of the Kaifeng Foundation; Robert Liu, founding benefactor of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies; Rachel Duan, president and chief executive officer of GE China; and Liu De, co-founder of Xiaomi, one of China’s largest private start-ups.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on October 08, 2017.