University of Washington President Mark A. Emmert announced today that the university will open an office in Beijing as part of an effort to expand its presence in China.
Emmert made the announcement during a visit to the UW campus this morning by Zhou Wenzhong, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United States.
“China remains the most prominent international partner for many of our faculty and their programs,” said Emmert. “As in so many other places, continuous personal contacts are vital to doing business with the government, educational institutions and businesses of China. To enhance the University of Washington’s potential for greater interaction with our Chinese counterparts and to be able to identify new opportunities for collaboration that could also include many of our community partners in Washington State, I concluded that we need a greater presence in China. Opening an office in Beijing will help to facilitate movement of our people and will enable us to build stronger ties with the universities and government offices. It will also allow us to interact more with Washington-based businesses in establishing partnerships in China and to explore other opportunities for us there.”
Emmert also announced the appointment of Hank T. Wang, a 30-year veteran in China relations, as vice president of the University of Washington China office. Wang will identify, promote and enable UW research and learning opportunities with Chinese universities, research institutes, government and industry. He also will manage a China-based staff that will facilitate the work of UW faculty, staff and students in connection with university programs related to China.
Wang is currently a principal with the law firm of Garvey Schubert Barer. He also is a professor of law at Shantou University School of Law and adjunct professor of law at the China University of Law and Political Science.
He earned a degree from St. Louis University School of Law in 1992. Prior to that, he had a 20-year career as a law-enforcement officer with the Chinese Army, as a strategic analyst with the Chinese Air Force and as vice chairman of the department of international studies and languages at the Chinese Naval Academy of Surface Warfare. Subsequently he served as legal counsel at what was then the only international law firm in Dalian, China.
“Having a person of Hank Wang’s experience and talent to lead our China office is essential to its future success,” said UW Provost Phyllis Wise. “He brings considerable credibility to the seriousness with which we are pursuing greater engagement in China, and we are very pleased he is joining the University of Washington.”
The UW offered its first classes about China in 1909. Today there are more than 400 students from China enrolled in UW degree programs, comprising the largest group of international students studying at the university. In addition to Chinese students seeking degrees, there are nearly 300 post-graduate scholars from China in residence at the UW, the second-largest group of international scholars at the university. The UW has 20 faculty members in its China Studies Program, and more than 50 faculty members collaborating with colleagues in China. In 2005-06, the UW sent 120 students to China through various foreign study and exchange programs.
In the past, the UW’s China focus was on courses taught on the UW Seattle campus, with individual scholars traveling to China when possible. In the coming decades, many more courses will take place in China, in cooperation with Chinese universities and scholars, according to Wise.
“Today we also are seeing a change in scholarly interactions with China,” she said. “While individual scholars will continue to conduct important research, increasing numbers of scholars will be participating in interdisciplinary research teams that include U.S. and Chinese partners from universities, business, and government.”