International Educator - May/June 2012 - 123
One of those issues is dealing with hepatitis B and the associated risks of liver cancer, says Samuel So, a professor of surgery at Stanford’s School of Medicine and founder of the Asia Liver Center there. It is “a huge problem” in many countries in Asia, particularly in China,” he says. Almost 100 million people are chronically infected with the virus and up to half a million people die every year of the disease it causes, he reports. With the involvement of students and colleagues at Stanford and institutions in China, he is leading an initiative to provide policymakers in Asian countries with evidence-based data to encourage them to invest funds in solving the problem. The SCPKU will serve as an “important hub” for increasing activities in China and “the whole Asia region,” he says. Similarly, the Center will support student internships, visiting research, and exchange programs that Stanford’s School of Engineering already runs at PKU, says Pamela Hinds, associate professor in the Department of Management Science and Engineering and faculty director for the engineering school’s programs in China. She cites a new “service-learning” project beginning this summer in which a group of Stanford and PKU students will spend about 10 days in studies on the PKU campus and then work together for six weeks in a rural area of China “to make some sort of contribution to that area.” “It will make a huge difference to have classroom facilities and a presence at a university in China so that we can launch this. We can have their faculty come in and provide content and expertise that we don’t have. I think it will shape up to be a wonderful way to partner together,” says Hinds. Stanford faculty as well as students say the SCPKU provides significant logistical advantages, including a productive working environment similar to that on the home campus in Palo Alto so that they do not have to work out of hotels, restaurants, or other bases in China, as many have done previously. In addition to an English-speaking staff at the Center, scholars have a modern office with standard amenities, like Internet access, fax
and copy machines, video conferencing, and mail boxes, as well as ample meeting rooms and conference facilities. Being in the same time zone as many of the Chinese people they work with facilitates communication with them, overcoming the usual 10-hour time difference between Palo Alto and Beijing. Stanford faculty and students are welcome at the SCPKU at any time, and can reserve offices and workspace for sabbatical periods or visits as short as one day. There is no charge to individual faculty and students staying for short periods, and longer stays are funded by grants, awards, fellowships, and endowments. A number of reasonably priced hotels are located directly on the PKU campus within walking distance of the Center. Rooms and apartments also are available for rent at other nearby facilities for longer-term visits. For meals, visitors can choose from a wide selection of nearby eateries on or off the campus. The SCPKU “will be an ideal base for me,” adds Xiaojun Li, a Stanford doctoral
student in political science, who expected to be at the Center for its March opening and then spend a week there. He says he will use the facility to conduct interviews for his dissertation on “The Political Economy of China’s Foreign Trade Policies.” Notwithstanding all the ways the SCPKU will be useful to the Stanford community in China, Leckie says its mere presence provides significant value in another way. “The Stanford brand in China is very well thought of, and the Stanford presence there carries a fair amount of cachet,” he says. In earlier comments, Chien Lee added another perspective on the Stanford-PKU partnership: “When you get great people together, you can really achieve something.” IE
alaN DESSOFF is an independent journalist in bethesda, maryland. his last article for IE was “the language of business,” which appeared in the intensive language supplement accompanying the march/april 2012 issue.
M AY + J U N E . 12 InternatIonal educator