September 22, 2003 Vol. VIII, No. 3

Left to right-Library Dean Susan Curzon, Teresa Tseng, Roland Tseng, C.K. Tseng, and Cal State Northridge President Jolene Koester.

University's China Connections Date Back Three Decades

China Institute, Theater Exchange Programs, Visiting Scholars Part of Cal State Northridge/China Tradition


Cal State Northridge has been a pioneering education institution in establishing connections with China since the normalization of U.S.-Sino diplomatic relations in January 1979. The University, under then-President James Cleary, began with faculty exchanges in 1978 and 1979, and then expanded in 1981 to formal exchange agreements with Chinese educational institutions.

Other early ties with China included the first university visit by China's new ambassador to the United States; Northridge having the first festival of Chinese films at an American university in 1988; an exchange of China and Northridge singers leading to that country's first bilingual opera production; and Northridge's debate team becoming the first foreign team to compete in China.

China Institute

Cal State Northridge in 1982 established a China Institute to arrange educational and cultural activities and exchanges with China. The China Institute aims to promote better understanding of the Chinese culture and to strengthen friendship between the American and Chinese peoples. The institute last year celebrated its 20th anniversary. More information:

University Leadership

University President Jolene Koester, reinforcing Northridge's historic ties with China, attended the International Education Forum in Beijing in October 2002 as one of ten invited world education leaders. The president delivered a keynote address, "Economic Globalization and the Need for Intercultural Communication Competence."

International Exchange Agreements

Cal State Northridge has signed international exchange agreements with nearly 40 educational and government institutions in China, paving the way for frequent faculty and student exchanges. Cal State Northridge has more such agreements in China than in any other country.

China Scholars

Cal State Northridge hosted nearly 100 visiting scholars from China during 2002–03, including educators, government officials and business managers. More than 60 Northridge faculty members served as mentors for China visiting scholars during the year. Individual Northridge faculty and administrators also made at least 20 trips to China during the year.

International Students

China historically has been one of the largest contributors of international students at Cal State Northridge. In recent years, the University typically has hosted about 60 international students from China each year, with China ranking as one of Northridge's top countries of origin.

Prominent Alumni

Charter schools pioneer Yvonne Chan(right); actress/film director Joan Chen; former television executive Wendy Deng, wife of Fox media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

China Government Scholarships

For the fifth consecutive year, the Chinese Government Scholarship Council has awarded a full scholarship to a Cal State Northridge student to study in China during 2003–04. Seven Northridge students in total have received these prestigious awards in the past five years, and several of those students are still studying and working in China. Northridge has received more such scholarships than any other Southern California university in recent years.

International Geography Conference

Cal State Northridge—through its renowned Geography Department, one of the largest in the nation—has sponsored three international conferences on human geography, bringing together scholars from across the United States and China. Northridge geography professor I-Shou Wang has spearheaded this continuing series of conferences, held both here and in China.

Training Future Leaders

Through its China Institute, Cal State Northridge has provided specialized training to nearly 200 government officials and educators from China during the past decade. A just-completed program involved more than 100 mid-level government officials from Guangzhou and Dalian during the past five years. A prior program through the Chinese National Ministry of Education trained more than 40 science teacher educators and more than 40 education administrators.

Old China Hands Archive

In 2002, the University's Oviatt Library dedicated an Old China Hands Archive, established to preserve and publicize the heritage of the people from other countries and cultures who lived and worked in China from the 1840s to 1949. More information:

China Embroidery

The University's Oviatt Library also hosted this year an exhibit of intricate textile crafts of the Miao and Bai ethnic minority peoples of southwestern China. "Embroidery, Batik and Tie-Dye: Textile Crafts of Southwestern China" explored how these intensely colorful textiles are created. The exhibit was curated by Northridge librarian Angela Lew.

The Arts in China

Cal State Northridge's Theatre Department has cultivated a longstanding exchange program with the Shanghai Theatre Academy, with Northridge students staging performances in China and their Chinese counterparts coming here to perform. Cal State Northridge's nationally renowned Jazz "A" Band in recent years also has performed in Beijing and Shanghai.

@csun | September 22, 2003 issue
Public Relations | University Advancement
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