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Opening Ceremony for Yale Center Beijing

Monday, October 27, 2014

Yale University today opens the Yale Center Beijing, a convening space and intellectual hub for all of Yale’s activities in China. Yale will celebrate the opening of the Center with an inaugural conference October 27-28.

The first Center of its kind that Yale has opened, the Yale Center Beijing leverages Yale’s wealth of resources as a global research university and its historically strong ties to China. The Center enables the University to expand existing activities and form new partnerships with organizations in China, supports research and study from each of the University’s schools and divisions, and serves as a gathering place for alumni from throughout Asia.

“Yale is a truly global institution. The selection of Beijing as the Center’s home continues the University’s long and meaningful relationship with China,” said Peter Salovey, president of Yale University. “Yale Center Beijing will allow Yale to expand its global reach and will afford all of our schools and centers opportunities to develop fruitful collaborations with partners in China.”

Yale University’s relationship with China is deeper than any other university in the United States, dating to the early 19th century.  Its long history spans partnerships with universities, government agencies, and independent research institutions across China, and faculty collaborations with colleagues in China in a broad array of research, educational, and training activities. The Yale Center Beijing builds on this legacy by establishing a physical presence in China.

The Center is funded by generous gifts from three founding donors: Yale alumnus Neil Nanpeng Shen, founding managing partner of Sequoia Capital China; Yale friend Bob Xiaoping Xu, founding partner of ZhenFund; and Yale alumnus Brad Huang, founder and chair of Lotus Capital Management. Speaking on behalf of the donors, Shen, chair of the Advisory Committee of the Yale Center Beijing, said: “Yale has a long history with China as well as with Chinese students dating back to 1850 when Yung Wing, the very first Chinese overseas student, began his studies at Yale. We admire how Yale has been convening so many thought leaders in China, and we want this Center to facilitate and accelerate those efforts and to cultivate academic and culture exchanges across broad range of subjects between China and the U.S. This can have widespread benefits for the future of China and, we feel, for Yale as well.”

The Center, located in a 16,500-square-foot space in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, is managed by the Yale School of Management on behalf of Yale University. Yale School of Management Dean Edward A. Snyder said: “We are grateful to the Center's founding donors, Neil Shen, Bob Xiaoping Xu, and Brad Huang for their generosity, and in particular to Neil for his vision and strategic guidance. The School of Management is pleased to be the steward of the Yale Center Beijing with a superb location in the vital Chaoyang District. Our opening conference, which reflects the strengths of Yale, will focus on several issues at the nexus of business and society.”

The conference to celebrate the Center’s opening will feature a series of conversations on important societal issues affecting China, the United States, and the world, including technology, healthcare, the environment, U.S.-China relations, asset management, and the role of the arts in society. The conference sessions are convened by schools and programs across Yale including the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale, the Yale School of Music, and the Yale School of Management.

On October 27, in connection with the Center’s opening, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Tsinghua University School of Environment will announce a dual degree program between the schools that will offer an opportunity for students at Tsinghua to bolster their skills in environmental policy and management, and enable Yale students to enhance their expertise in key areas of environmental engineering, including the study of industrial systems, pollution management, water treatment, and energy technology. The program will also connect Yale and Tsinghua students to leading environmental researchers and practitioners in both the U.S. and China.

On the same day, the Chief Executive Leadership Institute of the Yale School of Management will host its Yale CEO Summit, a gathering of top corporate, nonprofit, and government leaders for candid discussion on the theme “Trading Places: U.S.-China Perspectives on Trade Partnerships.” The Chief Executive Leadership Institute’s Lifetime of Leadership Award will be presented to Gao Xiqing, former president and chief investment officer of the China Investment Corporation, and its Legend in Leadership Award will be presented to Jiang Jianqing, chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

Schools and programs across Yale are developing activities that will take place at the Center. For example, Yale faculty from the School of Public Health will meet with Chinese State Food and Drug Administration officials at the Center to develop policy guidelines for regulations for the pharmaceutical industry in December. In 2015, the School of Architecture will convene a major symposium entitled “Icons and Enclaves: New Architecture and Patterns of Urban Development in China,” and the Center will host programs with faculty from the School of Forestry and Environmental Science, the Department of Political Science, and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. The Law School, School of Nursing, School of Drama, and School of Management also have programs under development.