Business, education initiatives emerge from ISU trip to China

September 12 2006

A conference on doing business with China and an Indiana voice in the future design of higher education around the world are among the fruits of a visit to China by Indiana State University leaders.

Indiana State and Liaoning University have agreed to co-sponsor a U.S.-Chinese business conference as a result of a 10-day trip to China in late August by Indiana State President Lloyd W. Benjamin III and Gaston A. Fernandez, executive director of ISU's International Affairs Center.

The ISU delegation also held discussions with Liaoning University and Liaoning Normal University in Dalian, in northeastern China's Liaoning province about expanding existing educational partnerships. President Benjamin also discussed establishing a new partnership with Sichuan University in the southern Chinese city of Chengdu in Sichuan province.

Indiana State was also one of a select group of universities from around the world invited to take part in the first International President's Conference on University Design, sponsored by Sichuan University and the government of Sichuan Province.

Sichuan University inaugurated an institute on university design to help establish models for emerging international universities where students will come from more diverse cultural and economic backgrounds than at any time in world history.

At the conference, Benjamin and Fernandez presented a paper on the role of higher education in regional economic development.

The knowledge-based, information economies of the 21st century are more dependent on creativity, innovation and invention than the economies that dominated the 20th century and the new economies will transform international politics, the paper said.

"Regional growth and development in the global and information based economies will come to depend more on having robust learning regions: ones in which there is the educational infrastructure, commitment to continuous improvement, learning and innovation that is fostered by comprehensive institutions that are mandated to advance the development of their regions," Benjamin said.

"The successful university will value both academic independence and constructive local and international networks. The ideas and creativity to solve the complex problems facing humanity in the 21st century will require cooperation and learning across cultures."

Participation in the university design conference "further positions Indiana State as a strategic player and partner with Chinese higher education," Benjamin said.

Indiana State was the only Indiana institution represented at the conference of university presidents. Other participants included the presidents of Arizona State, the California State University System, and universities in Canada, China, European Union, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The Institute on University Design will initially focus on universities in China and the U.S.

The agreement to co-sponsor with Liaoning University a conference on doing business in China "reflects ISU's commitment to helping Indiana remain competitive in the global economy," Fernandez added. The conference will take place in 2007 in Indianapolis in conjunction with ISU's Networks Financial Institute. Details of the conference will be announced later.

The visit to China by Benjamin and Fernandez was financed by Liaoning, Liaoning Normal and Sichuan universities and the Sichuan provincial government.

Prepared remarks by President Benjamin to the conference

Contact: Gaston Fernandez, executive director, International Affairs Center, (812) 237-4391 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or

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Story Highlights

A 10-day trip to China in August by ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III and Gaston Fernandez, executive director of the International Affairs Center, has resulted in an agreement to co-sponsor with Liaoning University a conference in Indianapolis on U.S.-Chinese business. Durng the visit, the two ISU leaders presented a paper on the role of higher education in regional economic development.

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