Cover of the report 'Accelerating Decarbonization in China and USA through Bilateral Collaboration'

In October 2021, Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford Center at Peking University, and Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center’s China Program partnered with Peking University’s Institute of Energy to organize a series of roundtables intended to promote discussion around how China and the United States can accelerate decarbonization and cooperate with one another to meet their carbon neutrality goals by mid-century. The thematic areas included U.S.- China collaboration on climate change, global sustainable finance, corporate climate pledges, and the opportunities and challenges for the acceleration of decarbonization in both countries in general, as well as specifically for the power, transportation, and industry sectors.

The roundtable series brought together leading American and Chinese current and former officials, and experts in the public and private sectors working on energy, climate, the environment, industry, transportation, and finance. This report reviews the key themes and takeaways that emerged from the closed-door discussions. It builds on the “U.S.-China Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis” released by the U.S. Department of State on April 17, 2021 and shares some common themes with the “U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s” released on November 10, 2021.

This report further identifies more concrete and additional promising areas for accelerated decarbonization and bilateral collaboration, as well as the obstacles to be tackled, including institutional, political, and financial constraints. This report could serve as a basis for concrete goals and measures for future U.S.-China cooperation on energy and the climate. It also highlights the contributions universities can make to the global energy transition. The roundtable series identifies areas most critical or potent for bilateral collaboration, paving the way for concrete action plans at the national, local, and sectoral levels. Section 1 offers a brief overview of the acceleration of decarbonization in the U.S. and in China. Section 2 identifies the opportunities and challenges of U.S.-China cooperation on climate change. Sections 3-7 delve into specific promising areas for accelerated decarbonization and opportunities and hurdles for bilateral collaboration in corporate, finance, power, transportation, and industrial sectors.

This report is not a comprehensive review of all the relevant areas pertaining to decarbonization in China and the U.S. and bilateral collaboration on climate change. For example, this roundtable series focused on climate mitigation. Another strategy to respond to climate change is adaption, which we reserve for potential future discussion in a separate report. Additionally, the focus of this report is on energy. Important measures such as reforestation as a carbon sink are reserved for separate discussions. The views expressed in this report represent those of the participants at the roundtable series and do not necessarily represent the positions of the organizing institutions. Chatham House rules were used throughout the roundtables to facilitate open and frank discussion, so views are not attributed to individual participants

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Stanford Energy
Shiran Victoria Shen
Jean C. Oi
Yi Cui
Zhijun Jin
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On October 6, 2021, the APARC China Program hosted the panel program, "Engaging China: Fifty Years of Sino-American Relations." In honor of her recently released book of the same title, Director of the Grassroots China Initiative Anne Thurston was joined by contributors Mary Bullock, President Emerita of Agnes Scott College; Thomas Fingar, Shorenstein APARC Fellow; and David M. Lampton, Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Thomas Fingar also moderated the panel.

Recent years have seen the U.S.-China relationship rapidly deteriorate. Engaging China brings together leading China specialists—ranging from academics to NGO leaders to former government officials—to analyze the past, present, and future of U.S.-China relations.

During their panel, Bullock, Fingar, Lampton, and Thurston reflected upon the complex and multifaceted nature of American engagement with China since the waning days of Mao’s rule. What initially motivated U.S.’ rapprochement with China? Until recent years, what logic and processes have underpinned the U.S. foreign policy posture towards China? What were the gains and the missteps made during five decades of America’s engagement policy toward China? What is the significance of our rapidly deteriorating bilateral relations today? Watch now: 

For more information about Engaging China or to purchase a copy, please click here.

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Was the strategy of engagement with China worthwhile? Experts Mary Bullock, Thomas Fingar, David M. Lampton, and Anne Thurston discuss their recent release, "Engaging China: Fifty Years of Sino-American Relations."


This is a virtual event. Please click here to register and generate a link to the talk. 
The link will be unique to you; please save it and do not share with others.

Presented by the Stanford China Program and the Stanford Center at Peking University.

Tuesday, April 27 
6:00 pm – 7:15 pm (PST) 
Wednesday, April 28 
9:00 am – 10:15 am (China) 

A large amount of ink has been spilled in the last few years--and even more so since COVID-19--in the U.S. regarding American perceptions of the P.R.C.  Relatively little, however, has been conveyed regarding how China might view the U.S. today.  In this talk, we bring together two eminent professors, Professor Jia Qingguo and Professor Wang Dong, from the School of International Studies, Peking University, to examine how policymakers, professionals, and average citizens in China might perceive the United States and what that might imply for the U.S.-China bilateral relationship.  Dr. Thomas Fingar, Shorenstein APARC Fellow, will moderate the conversation.

This event is part of Shorenstein APARC's spring webinar series.

Portrait of Thomas Fingar
Thomas Fingar is a Shorenstein APARC Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He was the inaugural Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow from 2010 through 2015 and the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford in 2009. From 2005 through 2008, he served as the first deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and, concurrently, as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Fingar served previously as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2000-01 and 2004-05), principal deputy assistant secretary (2001-03), deputy assistant secretary for analysis (1994-2000), director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (1989-94), and chief of the China Division (1986-89). Between 1975 and 1986 he held a number of positions at Stanford University, including senior research associate in the Center for International Security and Arms Control. Fingar's most recent books are Fateful Decisions: Choices that will Shape China’s Future, co-edited with Jean Oi (Stanford, 2020), and From Mandate to Blueprint: Lessons from Intelligence Reform (Stanford University Press, 2021).

Portrait of Jia Qingguo
Jia Qingguo acquired his PhD at the Department of Government, Cornell University. He has been a member of the Standing Committee of the 11th, 12th and 13th National Committees of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and was elected in March 2013 as a member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the 13th CPPCC. He is a professor and doctoral supervisor, and the former Dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University. He is a member of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee of the China Democratic League and the Director of its Education Committee. He is the Vice Chairman of the Beijing Municipal Committee, Director of the Research Center for International Economic Strategy of China, a member of the Academic Evaluation Committee of the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies, a member of the Academic Committee of Quarterly Journal of International Politics of Tsinghua University, as well as an adjunct professor at Nankai University and Tongji University. Jia is also a senior researcher of the Hong Kong and Macao Research Institute under the Development Research Center of the State Council. His research mainly focuses on international politics, China-U.S. relations, China’s diplomacy, Cross-Strait relations, China’s rise, and the adjustment of China’s diplomacy. His major publications include: China’s Diplomacy in the 21st Century; Unrealized Reconciliation: China-U.S. Relations in the Early Cold War; and Intractable Cooperation: Sino-U.S. Relations After the Cold War.

Portrait of Wang Dong
Wang Dong obtained his PhD in Politics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is now a full professor and doctoral supervisor at the School of International Studies, Executive Director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding, Vice President of the Office of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Deputy Secretary-General of the American Studies Center (National and Regional Research Base of the Ministry of Education) of Peking University. In addition, he is also the Secretary-General of the Academic Committee of the Pangoal Institution, member of the Steering Committee of the East Asia Security Forum of Western Returned Scholars Association, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Global Times and The Carter Center “Forum for Young Chinese and American Scholars” and a researcher of the Peace in East Asia Program of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden. Wang has led major programs of the National Social Science Fund of China, undertaken major projects of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Science and Technology, and been funded by the National Social Science Fund of China many times. He was shortlisted for “Munich Young Leader” in 2016 and Beijing “Outstanding Young Scientist” in 2018. He is interested in research on international relations theory, the Cold War, US diplomacy, China-US relations, etc.

Via Zoom Webinar. Register at:

Thomas Fingar <br>Shorenstein APARC Fellow, Stanford University<br><br>
Jia Qingguo (贾庆国) <br>Former Dean and Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University<br><br>
Wang Dong (王栋) <br>Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University; Executive Director, Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU), Peking University<br><br>

The 2020 U.S. Election: Stress Test for American Democracy


January 14th (8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Beijing Time) 

January 13th (4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time)


The language of the event will be English.


Recording (audiotaping or videotaping) during the event is not allowed.

Sponsored by the Stanford Center at Peking University and the iGCU at Peking University.

Despite a once-in-a-century pandemic, the highest number of voters in 120 years turned out for the U.S. presidential election in November. After all the mail-in ballots were counted, former Vice President Joseph Biden was declared the winner of the popular vote and the Electoral College vote by a wide margin. However, Donald Trump has yet to concede defeat and has mounted a series of court challenges to fight the results, including taking his claims to the Supreme Court.

To help us understand the U.S. election results – an election that some have described as “a referendum on Trump” -- and its aftermath that some have called the “stress test for American democracy,” we convene a roundtable discussion with leading specialists from Stanford University and Peking University. 



David BRADY holds the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and held the Morris M. Doyle Centennial Chair in Public Policy (emeritus).  He is Deputy Director and Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and has published eight books and over 100 papers in journals and books.  Among his more recent publications are Leadership and Growth (World Bank Publications, 2010) coedited with Michael Spence, Revolving Gridlock: Politics and Policy from Carter to Bush II (Westview Press, 2006), and Red and Blue Nation? Characteristics and Causes of America’s Polarized Politics with Pietro Nivola (Brookings Institution Press, 2007).  His study on the “electoral basis of gridlock” is forthcoming.  

Brady has also published essays in the American Interest, Commentary, Policy Review, and National Affairs as well as numerous articles in Real Clear Politics, Project Syndicate and the Wall Street Journal.  He has twice been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University, Sciences Po in Paris, and The Libera Università Internazionale Degli Studi Sociali "Guido Carli" (Luiss) in Rome.  He has also been a distinguished lecturer at the American Academy in Berlin and a distinguished professor at Yonsei University in Korea.  Brady was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987. 

Bruce E. CAIN

Bruce E. CAIN is an expert in U.S. politics, and particularly the politics of California and the American West. A pioneer in computer-assisted redistricting in the United States, he is a prominent scholar of U.S. elections, political regulation, and the relationships between American lobbyists and elected officials. 

Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Cain was Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at University of California (U.C.), Berkeley from 1990-2007 and Executive Director of the U.C. Washington Center from 2005-2012.  He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and has won awards for his research (Richard F. Fenno Prize, 1988), teaching (Caltech 1988 and UC Berkeley 2003) and public service (Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service, 2000).  He is currently working on state regulatory processes and stakeholder involvement in the areas of water, energy, and the environment.



PAN Wei obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is now a Professor in the School of International Studies at Peking University and frequently lectures on world political theory, Chinese politics, comparative politics, and the history of American social development, etc. At present, PAN serves as the Director of the Center for Chinese and Global Affairs of Peking University. His research interests include comparative political theory, comparative politics, political methodology, and Chinese society and government.




WANG Yong holds a Ph.D. in Law from Peking University. Wang serves as the Director of the Center for International Political Economy and as a Professor and Doctoral Supervisor at the School of International Relations, all at Peking University (PKU). He is an Academic Committee Member of the Center for International Strategic Research, a Professor at the CPC Party School of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the Leading Professor of a PKU training program for senior civil servants in Hong Kong SAR, and a Professor of a PKU training program for African diplomats held by the Ministry of Commerce of China. He is also a Consultant for the Asian Development Bank, a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (UK), and a member of the Global Agenda Committee of the Global Trade System of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His research areas include Sino-US relations, Sino-US economic relations, trade politics, regional cooperation, international economic relations, international political economics, etc. In 2008, he was selected into the "Program for New Century Excellent Talents" by the Ministry of Education of China.


Jean C. OI

Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics in the Department of Political Science and a senior fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. She directs the China Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and is the Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University. Oi has published extensively on China’s reforms. Recent books include Fateful Decisions:  Choices that will Shape China’s Future, coedited with Thomas Fingar (Stanford University Press, 2020), Zouping Revisited: Adaptive Governance in a Chinese County, coedited with Steven Goldstein (Stanford University Press, 2018), and Challenges in the Process of China’s Urbanization, coedited with Karen Eggleston and Yiming Wang (2017). Current research is on fiscal reform and local government debt, continuing SOE reforms, and the Belt and Road Initiative.



Wang Dong is the Deputy Director of the Office for Humanities and Social Sciences and the Executive Director of the Institute for Global    Cooperation and Understanding, all at Peking University. He also serves as Member of the Steering Committee of the East Asia Security Forum, Chinese Overseas Educated Scholars Association, International Advisory Committee Member of the Shanghai Academy of Area Studies and Global Governance, Advisory Committee Member for the Carter Center-Global Times US-China Young Scholars Forum, and Secretary-General of the Pangoal Institution, a leading China-based public policy think tank.   

Wang Dong received his bachelor in law from Peking University and M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  Wang has written extensively on international relations and China’s foreign policy. He is the author and/or editor of such English-language publications as Re-globalization: When China Meets the World Again (Routledge, 2020, forthcoming); and Avoiding the Thucydides Trap: US-China Relations in Strategic Domains, coedited with Travis Tanner (Routledge, 2020, forthcoming). Wang was named a “Munich Young Leader” in 2016 (the only awardee from China); and was selected by the inaugural program of “Preeminent Young Scientists” of Beijing in 2018, one of the most prestigious awards ever given in China.

This is an exclusive Webinar for Stanford and PKU communities. Please use your Stanford or PKU email to register at

PAN Wei Professor, School of International Studies; Director of the Center for Chinese and Global Affairs of Peking University
WANG Yong Director of the Center for International Political Economy; Professor and Doctoral Supervisor at the School of International Relations
David BRADY Professor of Political Economics, Graduate School of Business and Political Science, Emeritus, Stanford University
Bruce E. CAIN Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences; Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
Jean C. OI Moderator Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics, Stanford University
WANG Dong Moderator Deputy Director, Office for Humanities and Social Sciences; Executive Director, Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding, Peking University
Panel Discussions
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APARC is pleased to share that Stanford alumnae Shiran Victoria Shen and Lizhi Liu have won prestigious awards for best dissertation in their fields. Both Shen and Liu earned their doctoral degrees in Political Science in 2018 and worked with Jean Oi, director of the China Program at APARC, during their tenure as doctoral students.

Shen, who is currently an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, has won the 2020 Harold D. Lasswell Award for her dissertation The Political Pollution Cycle: An Inconvenient Truth and How To Break It. The award is given annually by the American Political Science Association for “the best doctoral dissertation in the field of public policy.” Using a wide array of data, techniques, and research designs, Shen’s work explains how environmental change influences and is shaped by politics and policy. It centers on the critical case of air pollution control policies and uses China as a natural experiment.

Liu, whose doctoral research focuses on the political economy of e-commerce in China, has won the 2020 Ronald H. Coase Best Dissertation Award from the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics. Her study proposes that China has devised a novel solution, that is, institutional outsourcing, to the central question of how developing states build market-supporting institutions. She is currently an assistant professor in the McDonough School of Business and a faculty affiliate of the Department of Government at Georgetown University.

Congratulations, Shiran and Lizhi, on your excellent work and prestigious awards!

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Interdisciplinary environmental scholar Shiran Victoria Shen is the recipient of the Harold D. Lasswell Award and political economist Lizhi Liu is the recipient of the Ronald H. Coase Award in recognition of their outstanding doctoral dissertations.

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A new course jointly taught by Stanford and Peking University brought together students and scholars in China and the United States in dialogue using videoconferencing.

Each week during the past spring quarter, students at Stanford and Peking University (PKU) gathered in a classroom to learn, just as they would for any other course. The only difference was these students were neither in the same classroom nor on the same continent.

Despite being separated by nearly 6,000 miles, 18 students in Palo Alto and 28 students in Beijing held ‘face-to-face’ conversations via high definition videoconference in a course taught by American and Chinese scholars. On each side, they sat in a three-rowed amphitheater and looked directly ahead – not at a whiteboard – but at a screen that projects a video ‘wall’ of their colleagues at the other campus. The venue, known as a ‘Highly Immersive Classroom,’ enabled the distance learning experience between the two universities, using advanced software to create a cross-Pacific virtual classroom. The course titled The United States, China, & Global Security, led by former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and PKU professor Fan Shiming, was organized under the auspices of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative whose research focuses on security challenges in Asia with teaching as one of its core activities.

“We set out to host a course that addressed topics critical to China and the United States in a new type of classroom format,” said Eikenberry, the Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow in the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and director of the Initiative. “What resulted was a truly unique academic exchange that considered topics even beyond the bilateral relationship and carried a certain ‘Silicon Valley spirit’ being divided by an ocean yet connected through technology.”

“I loved the cybersecurity class because there was a lot of candor on both sides.”

-Shan Jee Chua, PKU graduate student

Over eight weeks, a select group of graduate students from the two universities explored a wide array of subjects related to international security, ranging from terrorism to trade and energy and the environment. The course aimed to provide students with a forum to discuss current issues in U.S.-China relations and to analyze areas that could be applied to other case studies. 

“Because each week was a different topic, it didn’t feel like I was just thinking about the United States and China again every Wednesday night,” said Sam Ide, a Stanford graduate student who studies China’s relations with Central Asia. “Each session was very interesting to me in a different way.”

Guest-taught by prominent scholars and former senior government officials from the United States and China, the course sessions allocated thirty minutes for each lecturer to present, followed by a thirty minute question-and-answer period in which students were given the opportunity to interact with the lecturers and their peers on the other campus. Lecturers from Stanford included nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and Thomas Fingar, a former deputy director at the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and from PKU, Dean of the School of International Studies Jia Qingguo, and arms control and disarmament expert Han Hua. All discussions were off-the-record to encourage candid exchange of ideas. 

course 3

At Stanford's Highly Immersive Classroom in Palo Alto, students look ahead at their counterparts in Beijing.

One course session in particular resonated with students. The session, taught by Zha Daojiong, a professor of political economy at PKU and Herbert Lin, a senior research scholar at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, focused on the changing nature and future of cybersecurity relations between China and the United States.

“I loved the cybersecurity class because there was a lot of candor on both sides,” PKU student Shan Jee Chua recalled.

Kimberly Chang, a second year Stanford graduate student in management science and engineering, noted that it was beneficial to hear the Chinese view on cyber “because most of the talk within the United States has been from an American perspective.”

“Hopefully, I'll be able to meet some of these people in real life who I've met on the 'wall.'”

-Sam Ide, Stanford graduate student

The course revealed a broader range of perspectives and provided a chance to interact first-hand with international colleagues while remaining at their home campus. Discussion amongst peers uncovered the “behind the scenes stories” and added context to media reports found online or in print, said Seung Kim, a student in Stanford’s East Asian studies program.

Besides the technology, a unique aspect of the course was its diversity. More than half of the course participants were international, representing 15 countries beyond China and the United States. That setting encouraged debate and reinforced the notion that “neither the United States nor China is the center of the universe,” said Zhu Jun Zhao, a PKU international relations student.

When students were asked what could bring about better understanding between China and the United States, continued dialogue was a common answer. The future of U.S.-China relations rests in the hands of people talking to one another: “I think we need more honest conversations,” Chang said.

And for some students, an opportunity to hold those conversations in-person may be close. Ide said he anticipates traveling to Beijing over the summer and plans to try and meet with a few of his counterparts whom he met through the course.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to meet some of these people in real life who I’ve met on the ‘wall.’”

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Video showcases SCPKU's Highly Immersive Classroom enabling co-teaching across the Pacific

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Stanford opened a research and education center at China’s Peking University, strengthening an already close academic bond and building a stronger tie to one of the world’s fastest-growing countries.

“Globalization is the defining characteristic of the 21st Century,” Stanford President John Hennessy said during an opening ceremony on March 21 that drew hundreds of academics, donors and government officials to the opening of the Stanford Center at Peking University.

“It is increasingly important for our students to understand what it means to be citizens of the world, to bring a more international perspective, to be able to communicate with others from different backgrounds or with different expertise,” he said. “Both Peking University and Stanford are stepping up to that challenge and moving to become more global institutions to address the challenges of this century. This new center exemplifies that.”

"It is increasingly important for our students to understand what it means to be citizens of the world, to bring a more international perspective, to be able to communicate with others from different backgrounds or with different expertise," Stanford President John Hennessy said at the opening of SCPKU.
Designed as a resource for the entire Stanford community and administered by the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, 10 programs and departments – including the School of Medicine’s Asian Liver Center, the Bing Overseas Studies Program and the Rural Education Action Project – will locate operations at SCPKU.

FSI faculty already doing research in China showcased their work during conferences held in conjunction with the opening of the center.

The new building is available to the several hundred Stanford scholars studying, researching and conducting university activities in China each year. It also offers the opportunity for Stanford faculty to work with academics from Peking University and other universities throughout China.

“Stanford is one of the most valued partners of Peking University,” PKU President Zhou Qifeng said. “The center will create more opportunities through collaborative research, student and faculty exchange programs, joint teaching and other activities.”

The center makes Stanford the first American university to construct a building for its use on a major Chinese university campus. SCPKU will allow current educational programs to expand, but will not grant Stanford degrees.

The center’s distinctiveness is reflected in the building that houses it – a 36,000-square-foot structure that combines Chinese and Western architecture. The courtyard building was constructed with interlocking mortise-and-tenon joinery – a classic Chinese technique that eliminates the need for nails or glue.

Hand-painted scenes depicting typical Chinese landscapes and views from Stanford’s campus are featured on the building beams. At the point where beams and columns meet, artists added Chinese symbols for teaching, learning and scholarship.

State-of-the-art classrooms, conference rooms and meeting spaces fill out the two floors below the courtyard. Skylights, interior gardens and a reflecting pool invoke a natural setting.

The melding of styles brings as much substance as symbolism.

The SCPKU opening drew hundreds of academics, donors and government officials.
SCPKU “marks a new era of collaboration between two outstanding universities,” Gary Locke, the U.S. ambassador to China, said during the opening ceremony. “It also represents a new bridge of understanding between our nations – and most importantly – our peoples.

“There are virtually no problems in the world today that cannot be solved if the people – the scientists and engineers, and the business people – of the United States and China join together,” Locke said. “And this center will help make that happen.”

Stanford’s relationship with China dates to the late 1970s, when the university began accepting Chinese graduate students. Students from China have accounted for the largest number of Stanford’s foreign graduate students for the past decade, with about 600 enrolled last year.

Those scholars are part of the 160,000 Chinese students studying in American colleges and universities every year, a number that eclipses the 16,000 American students taking classes in China, Locke said.

“We have to know much more about each other’s cultures, customs, traditions, values and languages so we can build a mutual trust and understanding that will allow us to face all of the challenges we face,” he said. “The way to build that trust starts with building people-to-people interactions. It starts with more student exchanges…and it most certainly starts with the Stanford center here at Peking University.”

Over the last 30 years, Stanford’s bond with Peking University has grown from an initial collaboration between the schools’ Asian language departments to a wide range of joint research and academic exchanges.

In 2004, Stanford’s undergraduate study abroad and internship programs began at Peking University. The study abroad program continues to be managed by the Bing Overseas Studies Program, which hosts roughly 60 undergraduates every year on the Peking University campus.  The internship programs are coordinated by the International, Comparative, and Area Studies Program.

The overseas studies program offers a broad curriculum taught by a Stanford faculty-in-residence who spends a 10-week quarter with the students in Beijing.  A range of topical and language courses are taught by Peking University faculty.

“The new center at PKU allows us to continue this dynamic program in a new environment designed to encourage interaction across disciplines and with graduate students and faculty from both universities,” said Irene Kennedy, the program’s executive director. “We also plan to continue supporting and developing interactions between Stanford and PKU students through language partnering and by including Chinese students in classes taught by Stanford faculty and associated field trips.”

Jean Oi and Andrew Walder – both senior fellows at the Freeman Spogli Institute – began building on that relationship in 2006 by envisioning a way to bolster Stanford research, teaching, training and outreach activities in China. Their ideas led to the creation of SCPKU and several new academic programs, including a law school exchange program.

The $7 million project is funded entirely from gifts made to the Stanford International Initiative. The lead donor was the charitable foundation of the family of Chien Lee, a Hong Kong-based private investor and Stanford emeritus trustee who received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the university in 1975 and his MBA from the Graduate School of Business four years later.

The SCPKU building is named for his father, the late Lee Jung Sen, who attended Peking University in the mid-1930s when it was Yenching University. Lee’s mother, Leatrice Lowe Lee, graduated from Stanford in 1945.

A bust of Lee Jung Sen sits in SCPKU’s courtyard, one level above the modern facility and surrounded by the more familiar, traditional Chinese architecture.

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