As the globalization trend creates increasing academic mobility, some of the world's leading universities are seeking further educational cooperation challenging geographical limits in order to promote equality and facilitate social development. These include Duke Kunshan and Nottingham Ningbo that have drawn wide attention in China.
Professor Vincent Price, President of Duke University, speaking at the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) in Beijing on April 25, 2019. (Photo courtesy of CCG)
Dealing with DKU, in a speech at the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) on Thursday, Professor Vincent Price, president of Duke University said the ultimate goal was to "deepen our two-way relationship with the academic community in China."
In his speech, "Education without Borders: Duke, Duke Kunshan and University Innovation and Globalization," Professor Price offered an analysis on the potential for collaboration in borderless higher education, while addressing the challenges and possible bumpy road development of the concept might encounter.
In line with Duke's aspiration of being a truly global university, the Durham, North Caroline-based facility first looked to Kunshan because of the tremendous opportunities for research, business partnerships and cultural understanding, he explained.
"DKU is a doorway into modern China for the Duke university community; also, a doorway into innovative research collaborations for Chinese who conduct the research there."
Professor Price also recognized the dynamic research ecosystem in China for "enabling a student in DKU to pursue a cutting-edge curriculum informed by the latest technology and taught by the leading experts in globalization, in STEM [covering the four specific disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and in the liberal arts".
The collaboration of DKU as a borderless higher education also demonstrates the core commitment of Duke Universit to "identify and develop human talent for discovery".
Addressing the challenges of the increasingly-strained China-U.S. relations during the launch of DKU, Professor Price emphasized the role borderless higher education projects like DKU can play in drawing two nations closer together.
"At times of tension, the need for collaboration and cooperation among great nations in the world is also the greatest," he stressed.
In view of the email incident last January involving Duke professor Megan Neely discouraging students from speaking Chinese, questions arose after Professor Price's speech over how Duke embraces diversity and ensures all the values and cultures could be equally appreciated and respected.
He replied: "The incidents you refer to reflect a variety of things. Some of them are misunderstandings; others are grounded in cultural insensitivity; and many of them reflect pretty deep divisions…All of them need to be addressed.
"The best thing we can do as educators is giving people opportunities to sit back and reflect," he added, taking the Neely incident as something offering a teachable approach.