Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 27, 1997

Jischke leads delegation to China for meetings

by Steve Jones

President Martin Jischke is leading a delegation of five ISU officials in China this month.

The ISU group is meeting with the president and officials from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences,Beijing, and other universities to discuss several initiatives, including international study and scientific exchange opportunities. Meetings also are expected between ISU officials and the deputy director of the Chinese State Education Commission, Zhou Yuangqing, and the vice minister of agriculture, Lu Ming.

Earlier this week, Jischke gave a major address on international cooperation in education at Qinghua University in Beijing. His trip marks the first time an ISU president has traveled to China while in office. The group left June 21 and will return from Asia July 3.

"This trip is a key opportunity for Iowa State University and Iowa to develop educational and economic linkages with China," Jischke said. "China has many outstanding scientists with whom we would like to collaborate. And there are interesting educational opportunities in China for ISU students.

"Because of the strength of China's emerging economy, it also is important for Iowans to have a better understanding of this nation's role in the business world. Therefore, it's vital that Iowa State students and faculty have opportunities to increase their knowledge of the Chinese economy and culture."

Noting China's huge population and growing economy, Jischke said food issues will link the nation with Iowa, a major exporter of grains and meat. ISU business, agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and veterinary medicine students and faculty particularly will benefit from collaborations with China, he said.

Jischke said Iowa business leaders look at China as a potential trading partner. China tops the list of countries in which Iowa companies expect to expand business activities in the next five years, according to an ISU study, International Needs Assessment of Iowa Businesses.

The report also shows that among Iowa business leaders who perceive a need for foreign language, Mandarin Chinese ranks second to Spanish as the language most needed for business needs.

Traveling with Jischke from ISU are Stan Johnson, vice provost for extension; John Kluge, professor of veterinary pathology; Xiangdong Fang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and David Acker, director of international agriculture programs for the College of Agriculture.

In Beijing, ISU and Chinese officials are discussing final negotiations for an ISU student study abroad program under the direction of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Students will spend eight weeks in China beginning in May 1998.

"We initially want 10 to 15 ISU students in the program, with hopes that it will grow to 20 to 25," Acker said.

Other discussion topics are cooperative scientific exchanges in seed science, horticulture, agricultural policy research and swine production, and an ISU agriculture-technology school to be operated in China in 1998 or 1999.

Officials also are talking about an agriculture outlook and policy analysis project that already is under way between ISU's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) and the Institute of Agricultural Economics of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

"This project is to help the Chinese economy to further integrate into international markets," said Johnson, a former CARD director. ISU received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for the economic analyses work.

China sends more students to ISU than any other nation. In fall 1996, 426 Chinese students attended ISU, accounting for about 17 percent of ISU's 2,566 international students. International students make up just over 10 percent of ISU's total enrollment.

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