A delegation from the People's Republic of China arrived in Boston last night to discuss the possibility of a student exchange program with harvard and other local universities.
The delegation, which is visiting universities across the country, will meet with representatives of harvard's East Asian studies program in order to determine "if there is some way Harvard can participate in the student exchange," Dwight H. Perkins, professor of Modern China Studies, said yesterday.
"I think it's quite possible tht over time we could involve Harvard undergraduates. We could involve Harvard undergraduates. But what the specifics are have yet to be decided," Perkins added.
Chou Pei-Yuan, a physicist and former president of Peking University, is leading the delegation. Ezra F. Vogel, professor of Sociology and director of the East Asian Research Center, said yesterday Chou is "the foremost academic figure in China."
His presence makes this "a very important delegation," Vogel added.
Anne Keatley, an assistant in the White House Office of Science and Technology, yesterday said the Chinese wish to send 500 people to study in the U.S. this academic year.
The Chinese are "quite interested in Harvard and they want to send undergraduates" to study here, Keatley said.
"Up until now there have been only a few isolated examples of pst-doctoral the student level," Perkins said.
This year a small number of undergraduate and graduate students will be sent from China to the U.S. The majority will be visiting scholars sent for professional training, Keatley said.
Vogel said exchange agreements will not actually be made as a result fo the visti to Harvard, but that the meeting will lay the groundwork for solving such problems as finacing, visas, counseling and testing.
"We will be in touch with Chinese officials in Washington," Vogel said. "Some people at harvard could conceivably go to China" to work out details he added.
Norris P. Smith, an official of the International Communications Agency in Washington, said yesterday that some exchange agreements have already been completed. Six Chinese students will be arriving at Stanfor University in the next two weeks, Smith said. There are already three students at the university of Calfornia at Berkely under an earlier agreement, Smith added.
The delegation will also meet with representatives of MIT, Wellesley, UMass Boston, and Boston University while it is in the area.