Frank Wong, associate professor in the department of international health, has just moved into his new office – across the Pacific Ocean. Wong, who has been working with Fudan University in China since 2004, normally travels to Fudan four to six times a year to work with its School of Public Health to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS. But on Dec. 12, Georgetown opened its first liaison office in China at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. The office plans to help students and faculty at Georgetown and leading Chinese universities collaborate on research initiatives and new academic programs, according to Lili Dong, the liaison office’s director. “I look forward to working with faculty and the Office of International Programs to help develop new opportunities [for students],” Dong said. Dong said that the office also aims to help Georgetown parents and alumni in China “stay involved in the life of the university” through programs she plans to establish in Shanghai. The origins of the collaboration between Georgetown and Fudan University trace back to 2005, when the Georgetown Public Policy Institute began to host an annual two-week public affairs workshop for Master of Public Administration students from Fudan’s School of International Relations and Public Affairs. A formal partnership was first discussed in the spring of 2006, when the two schools met to explore opportunities for collaboration during University President John J. DeGioia’s visit to Fudan. In May 2007, the university announced that it had signed a cooperative agreement with Fudan to support research, innovation in education, and greater mutual understanding between China and the United States. With this formal partnership in place, the two institutions started offering a dual law degree from both universities. They also started working together in medicine and journalism. University Provost James O’Donnell said that Dong will serve as the primary link for this exchange. “Dong will coordinate and facilitate both Georgetown’s relations with Fudan but also other opportunities for Georgetown faculty wishing to do research or participate in faculty exchanges in China,” he said. “There are already plans for further faculty exchanges.” Fudan University, considered one of the most prominent universities in China, was established in 1905 and currently enrolls 25,000 full time students. It offers degrees in 68 disciplines as well as various master’s and doctoral programs. Wong’s colleague, Na He, is a professor and vice chair in the epidemiology department at the Fudan University School of Public Health. Na has been working with doctors from Georgetown University on drug use/abuse and HIV risks among male migrants. “In addition to specific scientific research issues, our collaboration is to build the behavioral and social science foundation, including training promising researchers, for conducting HIV research in China,” Wong said. Dong is already looking for ways to expand the universities’ collaboration. “These might be through traditional study abroad, or through innovative new approaches such as bi-local or video-linked classes,” she said. In the future, Dong also hopes the office will help students network with alumni and find internships in China. Kristina Marie Lorr (SFS ’09), a regional and comparative studies and Asian studies major, studied at East China Normal University in Shanghai last semester. “One of my good friends got an internship through a Georgetown alum working in China and I think an office that would facilitate those kind of connections is a good idea,” she said.
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