Recently, I went to China for the weekend. More precisely, leaving on a Friday and returning on a Tuesday, I traveled from San Diego to San Francisco, from San Francisco to Beijing, from Beijing to Xiamen, from Xiamen to Boao, from Boao to Shanghai, and from Shanghai back to Los Angeles and San Diego. The breathtaking pace of such a trip is a testament to the extraordinary changes that the jet airplane and its associated globalization have produced.
The purposes of the trip were many. Along the way, I met with friends and supporters of the university, visited with students and faculty on exchange programs in China, introduced San Diego State to potential partner universities and presented an American perspective on higher education to participants at the Boao Forum for Asia.
There is no simple way to describe the extraordinary events occurring in China. Structural reforms have played a dramatic role in the development of Shanghai, a city of over 23 million people. The Chinese middle class and their aspirations have grown significantly in cities like Xiamen. Most importantly, there is an urgent need for multilateral collaboration with China on economic, environmental and security issues.
China is a nation taking center stage on the international scene. In a single session of the Boao Forum, I heard the heads of state of Algeria, Australia, Cambodia, Mongolia and New Zealand describe their plans for trade with China. In short, engagement with China is essential to our future.
We are blessed at San Diego State to have developed strong relationships with China. From our award-winning Confucius Institute, which provides opportunities for our campus and community to learn about Chinese culture and language, to our partnerships with Chinese universities and our American Language Institute where many Chinese students study English, we are prepared to engage the dramatic developments occurring in China.
Looking forward, this engagement will provide extraordinary resources and academic opportunities for our students, faculty and staff, as well as a forum for pursuing the multinational collaborations that are crucial to ensure economic development, environmental sustainability and international security in our shared future.