University to co-sponsor China business conferences

December 8 2006

Partners in international education since 1990, Indiana State University and China's Liaoning University are now partnering in global economic development.

The two universities, in conjunction with Networks Financial Institute, an outreach of ISU's College of Business, will co-sponsor a U.S. - China business conference Jan. 24-25 at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.

"This conference will inform policymakers about present and future opportunities that can result from developing a relationship with China and will demonstrate to the business community the benefits of conducting business with the Chinese, particularly in partnering for capital investment or trade," said ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III.

"It will be the first conference to explore the potential for capital to flow from China to the U.S., and specifically to Indiana," Benjamin noted.

Groundwork for the conference was laid in August when Benjamin and Gaston Fernandez, executive director of ISU's International Affairs Center, visited Liaoning University during a 10-day trip to China. Details of the conference were finalized during a November visit to ISU by Liaoning University President Cheng Wei.

Entitled "China - A Two-Way Street," the conference will address the topics "Why China?" and "How to Deal with China" on Jan. 24, with a session the next day focusing on China's changing financial system. The event aims to provide business managers information on specific issues such as Chinese tax laws, developing relationships and dealing with state bureaucracies, while also appealing to academics and students who may attend.

A major part of the conference will be the visit of a trade delegation led by Cui Desheng, director of the Liaoning provincial government's Foreign Affairs Office and several representatives from the Liaoning business, government and academic sectors.

An agenda for the conference and a link to register are online at Persons interested in attending the conference may also register by calling 1-800-603-7113.

Liaoning University has agreed to host a similar conference in China in 2008 involving business, academic and government leaders from Indiana.

"The process of developing mutual understanding, trust and reciprocity is expected to continue, with both universities serving as sources of expertise and experience and lending the insight gained from their partnership to the advancement of both regions," said Fernandez. "We expect to make significant progress towards the goal of achieving local gains from global networks."

The U.S. - China business conference marks the latest chapter in a 16-year relationship between Indiana State and Liaoning universities that grew out of a Fulbright Teacher Study Abroad Program in 1990.

Over the past four years, the two universities have exchanged 16 faculty members in business and economics developed an economics and business research support linking their respective libraries via distance technology; and strengthened teaching and research in finance, banking, personnel and social responsibility issues at Liaoning. Indiana State also hosted a series of conferences focusing on China?s admission to the World Trade Organization.

The activities were supported by a grant from the U.S. State Department?s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau.

Ongoing exchanges with China help students better understand the growing Chinese economy

"Providing our faculty with a first hand experience in an economy undergoing significant transition enables us to talk to our students about that process in a much more realistic way, having had a chance to observe it first hand," said John Conant, professor of economics and director of ISU's Center for Economic Education.

Xiang Yuanyuan, chair of the department of world economy in the School of International Relations at Liaoning University, is scheduled to arrive at Indiana State in December for an 18-month fellowship, Conant said.

"That will give our students a significant opportunity to be taught by someone who is going through the economic transition in China," he noted. Additional faculty exchanges are expected and ISU and Liaoning University are working on creating a joint economics program.

Conant first visited China in 1999 and returned last spring as part of a delegation aimed at expanding faculty-student exchanges to six K-12 school districts around the state.

Several Indiana schools involved in that effort have since put money together to hire Chinese teachers, and principals of the schools visited in China will be in Indiana in February for further discussions on faculty exchanges, Conant said. In addition, a second wave of schools has been selected for another visit to China in March 2007

As Indiana State and Liaoning enter a new phase in their relationship, they "set forth an ambitious agenda to further the relevance of our universities in serving the societal needs of the state of Indiana and Liaoning province in promoting economic development and cooperation, enhancing job creation and work force development, and in strengthening our public diplomacy functions," Benjamin said.


Contact: Gaston Fernandez, executive director, International Affairs Center, Indiana State University, (812) 237-4391 or ; John Conant, professor and chair, department of economics, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2160 or

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

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Story Highlights

Partners in internatonal education since 1990, Indiana State University and China's Liaoning University are now partnering in global economic development. The two universities will co-sponsor a U.S.-China business conference Jan. 24-25 in Indianapolis and another conference in China in 2008.

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