Father Jenkins leads campus delegation on trip to Asia

Author: Arts and Letters


A six-member delegation from Notre Dame, led by the University’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., spent a week in late May and early June on a short but productive fact-finding trip to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Joining Father Jenkins were Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Lin, faculty members in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures; David Morrissey, assistant vice president for University Relations; Louis Nanni, vice president for University Relations; and Mark Roche, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

The campus contingent met with government, education and business leaders, as well as alumni, students and parents of the University, to gain greater understanding of the region and to identify the future role of Asian studies at Notre Dame. More specific objectives of the trip included:

  • Seeking insight into the history of the Catholic Church and its influence in China, and the role of religion in the country’s past and present development
  • Holding functions with Notre Dame Clubs
  • Exploring opportunities for collaboration with select universities
  • Learning about business and economic development, including laws and regulations, workers’ rights, environmental and safety issues, and resource and trade challenges

“Internationality is an important dimension of Notre Dame, and China is a nation with an extraordinarily rich culture and history, and one that is of growing prominence and influence in the world,” Father Jenkins said. "The size and vitality of this country made a deep impression on me. On this trip we learned a great deal about China, we met with leaders of some great Chinese universities, we made contact with alumni, and we explored possibilities for places to which we could send our students to study Chinese language and culture.

“Of particular significance for me were gatherings of Notre Dame alumni groups in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei. These enthusiastic gatherings were powerful indications of the internationality of the Notre Dame family.”

The trip began in Beijing, where the Notre Dame officials met with U.S. Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt Jr., as well as with representatives of Tsinghua University and Peng “Paul” Liu, director of the Pu Shi Institute for Social Science and Research and a visiting scholar at Notre Dame in 1989-90. They also attended a reception and dinner organized by the Notre Dame Club of Beijing and toured Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

The itinerary then took the delegation to Shanghai, where Father Jenkins celebrated Mass in a private chapel at the residence of Bishop Aloysius Jin. The group also met in Shanghai with leaders of the city’s Ernst & Young office and toured the Global Education Management campus in nearby Suzhou, where Notre Dame MBAs study and the site of a Notre Dame Executive Education program.

A one-day stay in Hong Kong included a reception and dinner hosted by the local Notre Dame Club and a tour of the former British colony that is now formally called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

The weeklong Asian trip culminated in Taipei, Taiwan, where Douglas Hsu, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, and the local Notre Dame Club hosted a reception and dinner for Father Jenkins and other members of the traveling party.

Hsu also hosted a meeting of Notre Dame’s Asian Studies Advisory Board at Yuan Ze University. In addition to Hsu, other board members participating in the meeting were Susan Blum, associate professor of anthropology; Michael Chiang from Shanghai; Lionel Jensen, chair and associate professor of East Asian languages and literatures; Gerry Lau from Singapore; Justin Liu from Los Angeles; Atchi Nagai from Nagoya, Japan; William Pfeiffer from Hong Kong; Kalin Sarasin from Bangkok, Thailand; and Michael Wong from Arlington, Va. Provost Thomas Burish also participated via conference call.

The board discussed a recent report drafted by the Asian Studies Task Force that examined issues and explored resources and cross-disciplinary educational opportunities in Asia. A final report, including recommendations from the advisory board, will be completed this summer.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at newsinfo.nd.edu on July 06, 2006.