Chinese University Leaders - January 2011

Dates: January 16-21, 2011

As part of the ongoing efforts to enhance Sino-Israel relations, a delegation of 10 prominent Chinese academic leaders and officials visited Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings with their Israeli counterparts in government, academia and policy-making circles. The program was the result of a partnership between Project Interchange and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Led by Professor Yiyi Chen, of Berkeley, Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the study tour was developed with the goal of strengthening bilateral ties, with a special focus on Israeli strategic affairs, the peace process, Iran and Israel study programs in China.

“I’m quite impressed by the frank insight into Israel and the Middle East that we do not normally get through the global media,” said Professor Chen. “Our diverse group of Chinese scholars and government advisors looks forward to forging personal connections with our Israeli counterparts that may lead to even more robust academic and government exchanges between Israel and China. By strengthening this relationship, the Middle East in general can benefit.”

The mission was the culmination of an intensive immersion seminar in Shanghai in December 2010, when 35 Chinese policymakers, government advisors and academics met with leading Israeli scholars to explore Israeli politics, history and culture, under the auspices of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

“The seminar offered a forum for an open, frank conversation about important issues of mutual interest for China and Israel,” said Sanford R. (”Sandy”) Cardin, President of the Schusterman Family Foundation. “It was an especially important exchange because the people present have a direct hand in shaping Chinese policy toward the Middle East.”

The study tour portion of the program brought  this prominent Chinese delegation to Israel to explore areas for future collaboration and potential joint initiatives. The trip includes meetings with influential figures across the political and social spectrum, including Israeli, Palestinian and Israeli Arab leaders. In addition to senior-level meetings with their counterparts at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the delegation traversed much of Israel, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Northern border and the Dead Sea for a first-hand look at Israel “beyond-the-headlines.”

The Schusterman Foundation and Project Interchange believe that by establishing and expanding quality Israel-related scholarship in this important and growing region of the world, it will open the door to deepened cultural ties and mutual appreciation between the Chinese and Jewish people, as well as an enhanced bilateral relationship between China and Israel.