Leaders from top global universities gathered at Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU) in China for a World Class Universities Expo and Conference April 7-10. The events, held in honor of the 120th anniversary of XJTU, included lectures by Nobel Prize winners and university presidents, as well as meetings on collaborative opportunities in higher education.
During the event, XJTU installed Washington University in St. Louis as the first North American member of the University Alliance of the Silk Road (UASR). Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, plenary speaker for the anniversary conference, accepted the honor for the university in a signing ceremony and joined the UASR executive committee.
“Strong collaborations with top research universities like Washington University are important not only for our university, but the future of the world,” said Wang Shuguo, president of XJTU. “The UASR allows us to offer more opportunities for the young generation to understand different backgrounds and make important connections to help improve quality of life for all.”
The UASR is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization aimed at openness and international cooperation in higher education.
“The Silk Road was the ancient world’s most important conduit of information and technology,” Wrighton said, “and today Xi’an Jiaotong University is bringing universities from around the world to build one of the world’s great collaborative programs, one that will contribute to the development of human civilization.
“Xi’an Jiaotong University has taken a major leadership step to launch the University Alliance of the Silk Road. This initiative sets the University apart, and will contribute significantly to a brighter future,” Wrighton said.
UASR is focused on building a platform of higher education cooperation and promotion of regional openness and development. The alliance is fostering exchanges and collaboration among universities from countries and regions along the Silk Road and beyond, in the areas of talent training, research, cultural communication, policy studies and medical service.
New McDonnell International Scholars Academy partner
During the 120th anniversary celebration, XJTU also formally joined the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, Washington University’s lead global education and collaboration initiative.
The McDonnell Academy is a partnership of 31 premier universities from around the world.
“The University Alliance of the Silk Road complements the mission of the McDonnell Scholars Academy,” said James V. Wertsch, director of the academy and vice chancellor for international affairs at Washington University. “Through international research and education partnerships, universities play a significant role in addressing global challenges. This new partnership strengthens our shared ability to have an impact and extends our networks.
“We are proud to welcome Xi’an Jiaotong University as a member of the McDonnell Academy,” Wertsch said.
The academy is an international scholarship program designed to attract the world’s best students from partner universities to obtain graduate education at Washington University.
The unique platform provided by this network of partner institutions also is being harnessed to foster collaborative research on issues such as energy and sustainability, aging, international understanding and public health.
Guy M. Genin, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University, and in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, serves as the McDonnell Academy Ambassador to Xi’an Jiaotong University.
“Xi’an Jiaotong is a great match for Washington University, with unique strengths in energy, materials, public health, and biotechnologies,” Genin said.
“These strengths, combined with the resources of the UASR, will be tremendous assets as researchers in McDonnell Academy institutions continue to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”
The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China recently named Genin a Yangtze River Scholar. As part of this prestigious award, Genin is the Yangtze River Chaired Professor at XJTU.
About Xi’an Jiaotong University
XJTU is a C-9 League university with special strengths in energy, materials and public health. Founded in Shanghai in 1896 as the Nanyang Public College, it is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in China. It is a comprehensive research-oriented university focusing on science and engineering.
XJTU’s faculty includes 16 members of the Chinese Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, as well as members of the American Academy of Engineering, the British Royal Academy and the Third-World Academy of Science. For more information, visit xjtu.edu.cn.