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The Kennedy School of Government announced the establishment of a joint program with the National School of Administration in the People's Republic of China last week.
The collaboration will involve joint activities between the two schools "such as executive programs, faculty exchanges, joint research and case development and seminars on topics of mutual interest," according to a press release.
The National School of Administration was established to professionalize its government service and move it out of party control, said John W. Thomas, a fellow at the Harvard Institute for International Development. Thomas said he will most likely lead the collaboration between the two schools.
A "Memorandum of Understanding" was signed last Tuesday by Dean of the Kennedy School Joseph S. Nye and Gui Shiyong, executive vice president of the National School of Administration.
The joint efforts between the two schools will begin this year with faculty exchanges and a workshop on teaching methods to be conducted by faculty at the Kennedy School, according to Thomas.
"We do very similar things, the Kennedy School and their school, and the initial step will be to work with their faculty [in case teaching]," he said.
Thomas said the school plans to host a two to three week program at the Kennedy School next year for 50 Chinese officials from the National School of Administration.
The program will be supported in part by the Nina Kung Initiative. Kung, who is from Hong Kong, is working with Harvard in order to "advance greater understanding between the United States and China," according to the press release.
The collaboration between the two schools is "quite new," Thomas said.
"When [Nye] came in as the new dean of the Kennedy School, he was very keen on establishing non-governmental ties with China," he said. "It was important to establish informal links."
Initial talks between the two schools began last fall because the Kennedy School wanted to establish better links with China and learn more about the country, according to Thomas.
"We're interested in getting to know more about China, understanding China better [and] working with the Chinese," he said. "I think there's mutual learning, it would just broaden our perspective a bit."
The Chinese learning system is very different from the Kennedy School's, Thomas said.
"They've been isolated to some extent," he said. "They have a very traditional [and participatory] academic system."
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