If the last century was considered the American Century, this century may well be considered "The Asian Century." With a population of more than 1.3 billion people, more than 60 percent of new high school graduates in China now attend a university. The number of higher-education institutions in China has more than doubled in the past decade, and Chinese students are the largest group of foreign students in American universities. The Chinese influence in and on the academic landscape continues to grow.
For many years, Baylor has enjoyed a strong connection to China. Through the work of individual faculty members dating back to the early 1960s, a thriving program called i5 that partners Baylor business and engineering students with Chinese businesses to develop real-world solutions, and Baylor's study abroad program through which students immerse themselves in Chinese culture, many relationships have been developed and new doors opened. On a recent trip to China, Baylor President Ken Starr continued to cultivate relationships with the country's higher education leaders.
President Starr and his wife, Alice, were joined on the trip by School of Nursing Dean Shelly Conroy, Director of Baylor's Innovative Business Accelerator and the i5 Program Greg Leman and others. The group spent time with leaders at several Chinese universities, including the City University of Hong Kong, University of Macau, Peking University, and University of International Business and Economics. They participated in a conference hosted by Global Partners in Hope, began dialogue with the Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation, and strengthened academic ties with the medical community.
While in Beijing working with the Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation, President Starr was invited to meet Jiang Jianyong, the deputy director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, one of the most influential bodies of leadership in the realm of religious freedom in China.
The group also met with distinguished alumni Dr. James Sai-Wing Wong, BS '60, Dr. Daniel Chi Wai Tse, BS '60, MS '62, and Dr. Clement Kwok Hung Young, MA '61, and visited Hong Kong's Pui Ching Middle School where the three alumni attended. The school is part of the Baptist secondary schools system established by Chinese Baptists in 1889.
As Baylor partnerships within China continue to mature and dialogue with Chinese leaders in education and government is enhanced, President Starr hopes to visit China again in the future to build upon these relationships.