Please Enter Keywords
资源 63
California Governor Gavin Newsom makes a stop at Peking University during China trip
Oct 28, 2023
from clipboard

Peking University, October 28, 2023: California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is on a weeklong trip to China, made a stop on the afternoon of Oct. 27 at Peking University (PKU), where he joined PKU teachers and students to discuss issues such as education and climate change and highlight the significance of people-to-people exchanges.

PKU Council Chair Hao Ping and President Gong Qihuang welcomed the governor at the Yingjie Overseas Exchange Center. Ning Qi, vice council chair and vice president of PKU, attended the event.

Hao Ping extended a warm welcome to Governor Newsom and stressed that the governor's trip to China and visit to PKU played a significant role in bolstering China-U.S. cooperation in higher education. Teachers and students at the University, Hao added, looked forward to conducting exchanges and interactions with the governor and California in multiple fields.

In the meeting with Newsom, President Gong gave an overview of Peking University and reviewed the fruitful collaboration between PKU and prestigious universities in California. Noting that 2023 marks PKU’s “Global Engagement Year,” Gong said that PKU stood ready to maintain its close ties with California’s higher education institutions and promote people-to-people exchanges between the two sides, in an endeavor to form more friendly connections.

Governor Newsom appreciated the cordial reception by Peking University in his meeting with School leaders and stressed that California laid great emphasis on its cooperation with China. He was happy to see the long-time exchanges and cooperation between Peking University and California’s higher education institutions, the governor said, adding that he would continue to facilitate exchanges between California’s institutions and Peking University and strengthen China-U.S. cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

During his stay at Peking University, Governor Newsom joined a group of PKU professors and students in a discussion session in the Moonlight Hall of Yingjie Overseas Exchange Center.

from clipboard
The discussion session

"Exchanges" and "collaboration" appeared to be the keywords for the discussion, as issues of common concern, such as climate change, carbon neutrality, and people-to-people exchanges, were discussed, on an easygoing note, interspersed with entertaining comments from the speakers on the governor's "handsomeness."

In his opening remarks, Governor Newsom shared his personal bond with China (plus the details of his trip to China) and touched upon the long-lasting friendship between California and Chinese provinces/cities and between the U.S. and China at large. 

The governor mentioned specifically that San Francisco of California established (in 1980) sister-city relations with Shanghai, "the first sister-city relations between our two countries." Newsom also highlighted his interactions with Chinese leaders and officials during his past visits, which he deemed a reminder of "how important and powerful people are and how relationships matter."

from clipboard

In his speech, Newsom also encouraged the students to utilize "their capacity to lead and influence" both at a personal level and for the sake of humankind.

On issues of common concern, especially climate change, the governor believed cooperation was the way out, instead of "wall(ing) ourselves off from one another."

"One of the things that drives my passion and action is climate change and the imperatives to protect Mother Nature in this climate from the ravages of extremes, the extreme drought, extreme heat, extreme wildfires," stressed Newsom, who maintained that climate change imperiled not only his home state (with wildfires) but also cities like Beijing (with floods).

"We have to address the issue (of climate change), and so that's the big part of this trip," the governor concluded, highlighting the importance of conversations on climate change, which the governor believed called for "changing the way we produce and consume energy and finding ways to build partnerships and capacity together."

from clipboard
PKU teacher representatives: Zhu Tong, Lei Xiaoyan, Shen Qiaowei, Zhang Haibin (clockwise from top left).

The discussion session was hosted by Wang Dong, a professor at PKU's School of International Studies and director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU). 

Zhu Tong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and dean of PKU's College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, recounted his previous trips to the U.S. and pointed out that California, which had been ravaged by climate disasters including extreme heat and wildfires, had set a good example for “air pollution control” with its Air Resources Board, from which China had learned a lot, especially in Beijing’s air pollution reduction. 

“Universities in California have a long history of working together with Peking University,” Academician Zhu emphasized. “In the sense of climate change, new energy, and for the future, the health issue, we need strong collaboration. I would like to ask the governor to support the universities of California to even enhance collaboration with Chinese universities, especially Peking University,” he added, “for student exchanges, and more importantly, for the scientific research to find a solution for the future.”

In her speech, Lei Xiaoyan, a professor at PKU's National School of Development, recalled her studies at UCLA between 2001 and 2007, where she earned her master’s and Ph.D. diplomas with signatures from two former California governors. “So, I’m very happy to see you in person here (at PKU),” Lei told the governor. Reviewing the academic links between the two sides, Prof. Lei highlighted the importance and benefits of academic exchanges. “It is so important for us to have those programs to allow more students to have that opportunity to study, especially in California,” she said, “I really hope in the future that Governor Newsom you can encourage, maybe with more policies, students (from both sides) to have such opportunities, just like us.” 

Zhang Haibin, the vice dean of the School of International Studies and vice dean of the PKU Institute of Carbon Neutrality, shared his personal stories with California, including his previous attendance of the China-U.S. Climate Forum, “the first of its kind between our two countries,” Zhang underlined. He also recalled the academic exchanges among universities, professors, and students between China and the U.S., including on the issue of climate change, in which Zhang believed PKU could play an important role. “In the future, Mr. Governor, I’m very much looking forward to your strong support for Peking University in topics such as carbon neutrality.” 

Shen Qiaowei, a professor at PKU's Guanghua School of Management, who is also an alumna at UC Berkley, put an emphasis on student exchanges and collaboration between universities across countries, so that "the young generation, the future leaders," can “work together on issues such as climate change.” While giving a brief introduction to Guanghua’s exchange program, Prof. Shen underscored the positive effects of such exchanges, “When they (exchange students) come to China, they really can know China better and they can also learn how to interact with people from different cultures.” 

from clipboard
PKU student representatives

After the speeches, Governor Newsom engaged in in-depth discussions with PKU students on carbon emissions, energy transition, and China-U.S. scholarly exchanges.

When asked about California’s progress in residential solar panels, the governor highlighted the long-term economic and ecological benefits of the popularization of solar panels, which Governor Newsom deemed as a “win-win-win” for the state, the business sector, as well as ordinary Californians.

Addressing the question about student exchanges to conclude the discussions, the governor quoted Plato to encourage the young students: “If we are to have any hope for the future, those who have lanterns must pass them on to others.” “You are profoundly consequential … and I can’t be more supportive of those exchanges,” Governor Newsom said, “I’m very encouraged by the prospects of doing more to advance cross-cultural connection and educational opportunity.”

Florence Fang, chairwoman of the Florence Fang Family Foundation and an honorary member of the Board of Trustees of PKU, Jiang Guohua, a professor at the Guanghua School of Management, Wang Jisi, the founding dean of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies (IISS) at PKU, Chu Xiaobo, a professor at the School of International Studies, Li Yun, director of PKU's Office of International Relations, Zhou Manli, deputy director of PKU's Office of International Relations, and Zhao Lin, deputy secretary-general of the Peking University Education Foundation, attended the aforementioned events.

This article was featured in the special coverage of PKU's Global Engagement Year.

from clipboard

Written and reported by: Dennis Meng
Photos by: Office of International Relations, Dennis Meng