There are not enough hours in our days here in China. Before we could leave Qingdao, we met with Ma Weigang, the visionary leader of the Qingdao Bureau of Commerce, the city’s economic development organization. Mr. Ma had already visited FIU and our community months before. His mission – to convince us to join in partnership with the top-ranked University of International Business and Economics.
A Beijing-based institution of higher education UIBE has been invited by Qingdao to open a new campus in Chengyang District, to the north of the city. This district will be a major hub for Fortune 500 companies. Already 40 major investments have been made. City leaders want this leading Chinese university there and they want us there, too!
Following our meeting, we traveled to the site to understand better the seaside location chosen for the university. Now it looks like a normal, undeveloped waterfront location. I am told that within one year, the site right beyond the water will be full of construction cranes, and there the university will rise.
Sound familiar? Remember those bleak photos of Tamiami Airport when it was little more than empty fields? Now, in that same space, sits an amazing university that educates our sons and daughters.
Time will tell how we will be involved. We know that the capital we can invest will be intellectual in nature and will give us a rich pipeline of students to study at FIU, students who will share their perspectives and collaborate with our local students. Given China’s rise and energy, this can only be helpful to our FIU.
FIU has educated thousands of students from China. Whenever our Alumni Association holds meetings there, hundreds of graduates show up.
So it is with tremendous pride that we have signed a cooperative agreement with the Huikedu (Hoy-ke) Group in Beijing. Founded by FIU graduates, this group is a progressive, forward-looking company that is a strategic partner with Chinese universities in the development of high-quality educational resources and online-learning platforms.
I have known their company executives for several years, including Founder and Group Chair Dr. Yechang Fang; Dr. Wei Zhao, a partner and vice president; and Lin Gao, who is the general manager. While Fang and Zhao both hold Ph.D.s in electrical engineering from FIU, Lin was an exchange student in our English Department for one year.
During our visit to their offices, I was reminded of our online production offices and studies at FIU. What a hot house of activity and creativity as group employees busily designed online course and training materials in densely packed workgroups huddled over an array of laptops and personal computers.
As we entered the production center, I was impressed with the company vision, which was firmly in place on the wall facing the opening elevator doors: “Build the top talent technology company in the world.”
Following a signing ceremony, we spoke to a group of new students who will be coming to FIU in the fall. Our Lu Peng offered a fast but complete presentation on FIU, which provided a warm-up orientation for these students who were recruited to FIU by the group.
It is so exciting to see the fruits of our labor here in China. Our alumni have built a cutting-edge technology company. That’s why they will be Worlds Ahead!
And we will be right with them.