In April, 2006, President Irvin Reid led a delegation of Wayne State University (WSU) faculty and officials to Shanghai and Beijing to meet with Chinese university and governmental officials. The trip was intended to boost the university’s international enrollment, solidify relationships with Chinese universities, and create opportunities for Wayne State students to study abroad. Prominent alumni, Dr. Peter Wang and Dr. Grace Wang, joined the delegation, and during the visit to Beijing, Dr. Peter Wang accompanied Dean Robert Thomas on visits to the Ministry of Education and the Office of Chinese Language Council International, more commonly known as Hanban. During these visits, Dean Thomas explored the possibility of establishing a Confucius Institute at Wayne State University.

 

Trip to China

 

Above: Photograph from the October 2004 visit with State Councilor Chen Zhi Li in Zhong Nan Hai.

[Dean Thomas is 2nd from the left; Dr. Grace Wang and Dr. Peter Wang are next to State Councilor Chen Zhi Li (center)
and Ambassador Wang (formerly Consul General in San Francisco, CA), is 2nd from the right.]

As a result of the WSU visit to Beijing, President Reid received a visit to the Wayne State University campus by a Chinese delegation led by the Vice-Minister of Education, Dr. Wu Qidi, on May 13, 2006. A formal proposal to establish a Confucius Institute at WSU was submitted by Dean Thomas to the Consul for Education at the Consulate General of the Peoples' Republic of China in Chicago on July 6, 2006. In September 2006, Hanban accepted the proposal, subject to the negotiation and signing of the formal Agreement, along with the supplemental agreement with our partner university in China, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST). In addition to considerable negotiation by e-mail, Dean Thomas visited the Chinese Consulate in Chicago on October 11, 2006, and visited with Director-General Xu Lin during her visit to a conference in Nashville on November 16, 2006. Finally, Dean Thomas met with Deputy-Director Guo Lifan at the Hanban Office in Beijing on June 18, 2007, to receive the signed agreement. He then spent several days in Wuhan, China, working out the supplemental agreement with HUST. In Wuhan, he joined Dr. Mulugetta Birru from the Office of Wayne County Executive, Robert Ficano, in a luncheon meeting hosted by the Vice-Mayor of Wuhan.

President Reid and Vice-Minister of Education Wu Qidi

Above: WSU President Irvin D. Reid and PRC Vice Minister of Education Wu Qidi, during their May 13, 2996 meeting at Wayne State University

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