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Letter to the community on MIT’s engagement with Greater China

MIT Greater China Strategy Working Group issues its final report.

To the Members of the MIT Community:

We are very pleased to share with you the final report of the MIT Greater China Strategy Working Group, which includes a set of farsighted and ambitious recommendations to guide and inform MIT's engagement with Greater China, one of the world's largest geographic regions, which includes Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Established in 2007 by Associate Provost Philip Khoury, the Working Group included faculty members from MIT's five Schools with deep expertise in Chinese culture and society and in ongoing research interests in China. As they argue forcefully in the report, fulfilling the Institute's mission of global service and our commitment to tackling the world's great problems demands that we engage seriously and consistently with China -- as a source of important research problems and solutions, as the stage on which many new-to-the world innovations will first deploy, as a font of inspiring collaborators, and as a crucial source of student and faculty talent.

The Recommendations

Acknowledging MIT's century-long ties to China, the very significant role of Chinese students and faculty in the life of MIT, and the growing involvement of our students and faculty in projects and programs throughout China, the report presents seven core recommendations. Addressing teaching and research as well as administrative initiatives, it proposes avenues for action on our own campus and in different modes and contexts across China. Specifically, the report recommends that MIT should:
  1. Take steps to increase awareness of China on campus, and to increase China's awareness of MIT.
  2. Prepare students for increasingly global careers – ones that may involve working with peers in China.
  3. Promote collaborations between our faculty, researcher staff, students and their Chinese counterparts.
  4. Consider establishing a few special relationships with Chinese academic institutions.
  5. Consider establishing an MIT-China Innovation Hub that links research, education and innovation.
  6. Develop executive education-style training programs for governmental officials, educators and researchers in science, technology, and innovation, as well as business practitioners.
  7. Establish a resource development effort to support the implementation of MIT's Greater China Strategy.
In addition to their work on the current report, the Working Group has already strengthened MIT's ties to China in several practical ways, including: the establishment of the MIT-China Forum, which brings influential Chinese thinkers and leaders to speak at MIT; the launch of the Greater China Fund for Innovation, to inspire faculty to pursue new global research collaborations; and laying the groundwork that led to the funding of the Quanta Computer Professorship in Chinese Culture. We applaud this work and anticipate an acceleration of our work with Greater China in the years ahead.

We embrace the report's findings and spirit; the moment is right for an ambitious, far-reaching, faculty-driven effort to broaden and deepen MIT's partnerships throughout Greater China. We look forward to exploring and developing these ideas in the months and years ahead.

We thank the members of the Greater China Strategy Working Group for their compelling recommendations, and we especially express our gratitude to Professor Victor Zue for his vital leadership as Chair.

Susan Hockfield, President
L. Rafael Reif, Provost

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