Rudenstine Visits Shanghai, Speaks to Alumni

President encourages further collaboration

SHANGHAI, June 26--Four days before President Clinton fielded questions on a Shanghai radio-talk show during his historic visit to China, Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine left his mark on this port town, the largest city in the world's most populous nation.

Rudenstine spoke about his plans for future relations with the Asian nation this evening at reception attended by about 60 alumni and Harvard donors, most of whom are scholars and professionals from across China.

The Harvard Alumni Association in Shanghai held the reception at the Shanghai JC Mandarin Hotel and presented Rudenstine with the sculpture of a smiling Buddha. Harvard translated into Chinese means, literally, "happy Buddha."

At the reception, Rudenstine said the main goal of his visit, beyond furthering his own cultural education, is to promote intellectual exchange and cooperation between Harvard and academic institutions in Asia.

"Between the March visit this one, I met with the presidents of about 10 Chinese universities," he said, referring to a Spring Break trip he took to the region. "We discuss what kind of exchange programs we might have at all levels: students, faculty, Masters of Business Administration programs [and more]."


Rudenstine added that progress has already been made on fostering such collaboration. "The reception to these ideas has been very good. We have already had some discussions and letters."

On June 24, Rudenstine met with Xu Kangdi, the mayor of Shanghai, and the two leaders discussed Shanghai's economic and educational development. According to Wen Hui Bao, a major Chinese newspaper, both Rudenstine and Xu expressed hope for greater exchange andcooperation between universities in America and inthose in Shanghai.

Shanghai was the last stop on Rudenstine'stwo-weeks trip to Asia, which also included stopsin Tokyo, Seoul and the Chinese island, Xi'an.Last March, following Chinese President JiangZemin's visit to Harvard in November, Rudenstinejourneyed across Asia for the first time in hisofficial capacity, visiting Beijing, Hong Kong andTaipei.

Harvard spokesperson Alex Huppe added thatRudenstine's trip was not strictly academic inscope. It was also aimed at wooing potentialdonors to Harvard's $2.1 billion capital campaign,due to be completed by 1999.

Those interviewed at the reception, however,said Rudenstine had not solicited them for money."In China, our standard of living has not reachedthe level that we can donate money to Harvard,"said Wu Bin, whose son graduated from HarvardCollege in 1996.

Chinese alumni gave the president of their almamater an enthusiastic welcome.

"A new era of U.S.-China relations isbeginning," said Shineng Zhu, who was a visitingscholar at Harvard from 1980-1981. "And I thinkPresident Rudenstine plays a part of thathistory."

Rudenstine said this trip has deepened hisunderstanding of China's present and past.

Foreshadowing the complaints Peking Universitystudents would register with Clinton three dayslater, Rudenstine said that most people in Americastill know little of China or Asia beyond what themedia tells them, making deeper levels of exchangeand communication necessary.

"[Most Americans] know what they read in thenewspapers about China," he said. "But they do notknow a great deal about its history or culture,and we want to improve that."

Rudenstine detailed ways that the two countriescould share knowledge and cultural traditions,saying that both Chinese and American universityofficials support new initiatives. One suchinitiatives, sponsored by Harvard and the ChineseUniversity Qing Hua, is a study of economicdevelopment, its environmental impact and relatedproblems.

Rudenstine said that he has been impressed bythe Chinese people's "exceptional energy, realismand good analysis of issues.

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