A delegation from Washington University in St. Louis, led by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, recently took part in a day of celebration, collaboration and partnership at Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU) in Xi’an, China.
“Washington University Day” was held Oct. 15. XJTU is a McDonnell Academy member, and Washington University and XJTU are also linked through membership in the University Alliance of the Silk Road, based at XJTU. Several special events were held during the all-day session that focused on the close relationship between the two universities.
“This is a great institution, and provides Washington University and other premier universities a great opportunity to engage with talented students, with talented faculty and great academic leaders,” Wrighton said. “Xi’an is a great city in a great country, and in this historic place I believe that we can make historic contributions to making the world a better place for all.”
“We are happy to host ‘Washington University Day’ here at Xi’an Jiaotong University,” XJTU President Shuguo Wang said. “World-class universities have global vision. We are looking forward to more collaborations with Washington University, and working together to benefit the future, not just of one country but the world.”
The day was full of events, beginning with Wrighton and Wang signing a new agreement to establish a joint PhD program involving XJTU and Washington University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science. The program will focus on integrated research and education in the areas of life science, energy and informatics, and involves three schools at XJTU: the School of Life Science and Technology; the School of Energy and Power Engineering; and the School of Electronic and Information Engineering.
Members of the Washington University delegation made special presentations to the XJTU community, including Wrighton, who discussed the role of universities in addressing global challenges; Kurt Dirks, vice chancellor for international affairs, who spoke about the importance of developing trust in building university collaborations; and Dedric Carter, vice chancellor for operations, who outlined how best to move advances in research to development and commercialization.
Mary McKay, the Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School, and Shenyang Guo, the Frank J. Bruno Distinguished Professor of Social Work and the assistant vice chancellor for international affairs for greater China, led discussions related to education and research in connection with social work and social policy.
XJTU bestowed a special honor on Washington University faculty member Guy Genin, the Harold and Kathleen Faught Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Genin was installed with an honorary professorship recognizing him as an official ambassador of the university.
“What an honor to be part of this remarkable partnership between two remarkable institutions,” Genin said. “We have so many mechanisms for exchange between these universities, mechanisms that we use to address high-impact problems that face all of us as a global society. Thank you to the leaders who have enabled this partnership to flourish.”
Both Genin and Guo are Yangtze River Scholars, the highest honor that the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China bestows on an individual in higher education. These prestigious awards enhance partnership and collaboration between faculty at both XJTU and Washington University.