Fall Break in Asia

Each fall for the last several years, I’ve visited with Wesleyan alumni, parents and prospective students in Asia. I’m just back from Korea, China and Taiwan, where we held receptions and, in Beijing, a forum on liberal arts education and sustainable economic development. In a time of rising nationalism and chauvinism disguised with ethical posturing, it was good to have conversations with folks with a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds. Although my Fall Break trips go by very quickly, I always learn a lot from listening to our extraordinarily diverse Wesleyan family in Asia.

During my visit to China, I also met with those involved in a potential joint venture to open a film-centered school in the country. Following those meetings, Wesleyan has come to a decision not to proceed with such a project. As I explained in an email to campus today:

..in considering this possible campus in China, we needed to be sure that the academic work would be in line with the distinctive pragmatic liberal education at the core of Wesleyan’s mission. Further conversations with those who proposed the partnership have made it clear that our respective goals could not be sufficiently aligned—not to mention the questions we had around issues of academic freedom and the implications for our home campus.

While we will not move forward with this particular project, we remain interested in exploring collaborations in accordance with our Beyond 2020 strategic plan.

We have learned much from this process, and we will continue to seek ways to enhance the value of a Wesleyan diploma by expanding the reach of our academic programs, and by empowering our students, faculty, staff and alumni to do meaningful work on our campus and beyond.

Photos from the visit follow:

Reception in Seoul
Admissions Forum

Talking with students in Taipei



1 thought on “Fall Break in Asia”

  1. I am relieved to hear this. I first became aware of this when I attended the Shasha program on Russia. I saw a notice on one of the campus cylindrical bulletin boards, and, although I lacked information, I was appalled. I have studied and read about Communist politics for over 50 years. This includes one of the first Wes Chinese politics courses with David Titus as the Cultural Revolution really got rolling. Communism has plenty of brutality and totalitarianism but no freedom. SEE, for example, if it can be found, THE WILTING OF THE HUNDRED FLOWERS by Mu Fusheng (Praeger), the story of how Mao in the late 50s encouraged discussion of all points of view and then imprisoned everyone when lots of criticism of the Communist Party emerged. (My ad libbed and approximate summary.) No reason to believe that Chairman Xi, whose “thought”, like Mao’s, is enshrined in the Chinese Constitution, would act differently.

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