Cal Poly Pomona’s Global Education Institute hosted the largest international visiting delegation with the China Education Association of International Exchange Nov. 9 at the Kellogg West auditorium, the first Chinese higher education delegation since the pandemic in early 2020.
In attendance were 28 members representing 13 Chinese universities and representatives from nine other Southern California colleges, reigniting collaboration and cross-cultural opportunities for student and faculty exchange between the two countries.
The event included a welcome lunch at the International Center, a campus tour, a panel discussion on ideas and opportunities of international cooperation post pandemic, a welcome ceremony with gifting exchange held at the Kellogg West hotel and dinner with Chinese faculty and exchange students at CPP.
During the welcoming ceremony, University President Soraya M. Coley gave her opening remarks to the delegation. She mentioned that China is an important strategic partner, and how CPP has established and maintained working relationships with more than 100 higher education institutions in China.
“And now we can make an even greater impact by expanding our working relationships with Chinese colleges and universities,” Coley said in her speech. “At Cal Poly Pomona, we are driven by our philosophy of learn-by-doing or engaged learning to prepare our students to thrive at school, at work and in the world.”
Her remarks reflected something the delegation was interested in learning about, the student focused approach CPP is known for with university’s hands-on polytechnic curriculums. Larisa Preiser-Houy, dean and senior international officer of the College of Professional and Global Education, explained the talks were about potential student and faculty exchange programs, where students from CPP and their counterparts in China can come and study abroad.
“The panelists also talked about the ways in which we could partner together to maybe leverage technology and shared knowledge and capabilities to address some of the global challenges that we are facing today,” said Preiser-Houy. “You know, not just as a nation but as a world. And among those are climate change as well as public health. So, these were some of the threads of potential collaborative opportunities that could be established between Cal Poly Pomona and the institutions that visited us.”
The visiting delegation first attended the Conference of the Americas on International Education in Las Vegas Nov. 6 then flew to Los Angeles Nov. 8 visiting UCLA in the morning and CPP in the afternoon. UCLA and CPP were the only two universities the delegation visited during their trip to Southern California. They flew back to China the following morning.
“So, this visit was really a preliminary visit for the delegation to kind of talk about themselves as a collective organization for international collaboration and exchange,” said Preiser-Houy. “And for us at Cal Poly Pomona to really elevate the visibility of our institution and our Global Campus Initiative.”
One of the opportunities Preiser-Houy explained was a three plus one program, where students study for three years in their institution then come study abroad in their fourth year. The goal is for students to gain real world international experience. The scope of this conference was that of people-to-people connection, campus to campus collaboration, and international exchange.
“It is also worth mentioning that my team and I worked directly with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in terms of coordinating logistics,” said Lisa Xue, director of Global Education Institute. “I think this is the first time that I worked directly with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, regarding a visiting delegation from China to the U.S., so you can see the emphasis that both governments put on international exchange.”
Madam Fu Bo, deputy secretary general of the CEAIE, was the visiting delegation leader. Also present was representative Ming Tingxi, consul and head of Education Office, Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles. They both expressed their gratitude for the hospitality of the coordinated efforts from the Global Education Institute.
“I think we hope more CPP students can go to China,” Fu Bo said. “We’d like to host you for different programs. So, we can also offer the scholarship to CPP students next year, 2024, especially during the summer; summer school or short time exchanges. So that is our offer from CEAIE because we have different universities here (In China). They would like to offer something to students.”
She wanted to express her welcome to prospective exchange students who might visit China.
The visit was a campus collaborative venture, since the guests at the delegation visited and stayed at the Kellogg West hotel and all eight deans from each academic college were in attendance at the dinner. As Xue explained, the visiting delegation can see the university put a lot of effort into international education for student success.
“I think one of the themes for today’s discussion as international education is not only for those who jump on airplanes to study abroad,” Xue said. “International education should also be for all our students, so they can enhance their global learning experience, enhance their global cross-cultural awareness. Ultimately, they will be more competitive in the global world. And basically, we try to prepare our students for the world.”