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Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Delegation of IU scholars, state business executives and journalists visiting China March 11-19

March 8, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Two research centers at Indiana University Bloomington have organized a delegation of IU scholars, state business executives and journalists, who will leave for southeast China on Friday (March 11) for an eight-day visit.


The financial center of Shanghai will be one of two Chinese cities where the IU delegation will visit.

Among the group's activities will be a two-day conference at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, "U.S.-China Business Cooperation in the 21st Century: U.S. China Economic and Trade Relations during the Period of the Post-Global Economic Crisis."

Presenters will include faculty from IU's Kelley School of Business at Bloomington and Indianapolis, the IU School of Journalism, the Maurer School of Law and the departments of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Sociology and Political Science in the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

"This trip represents the second in a series of conferences conducted with IU's strategic partner, Zhejiang University, about two hours southeast of Shanghai, in the heart of China's most entrepreneurial region," said Scott Kennedy, director of the Research Center on Chinese Politics and Business (RCCPB) and one of the trip's organizers.

In April of 2009, RCCPB and the Kelley School's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), hosted a major conference in Indianapolis and Bloomington that attracted nearly 300 American and Chinese scholars and business people and officials from China. CIBER is co-organizing the 2011 trip and conference.

Entrepreneurship will be the focus of the second day of the conference at Zhejiang University. IU professors who are participating will include Idalene Kesner, Patricia McDougal, Bruce Jaffee and Mohan Tatikonda of the Kelley School, Ethan Michelson from the Department of Sociology and the Maurer School of Law, Jeffrey Hart from the Department of Political Science and Gardner Bovington of East Asian Languages and Cultures.

A new dimension for the conference series and a larger project for the RCCPB has been to help journalists from Indiana to better understand how China impacts their readers. Greg Andrews, managing editor of the Indianapolis Business Journal, and Chris Fyall, a reporter at the (Bloomington) Herald-Times, will participate at the conference and report from China.

Professors Lars Willnat and Emily Metzgar from the School of Journalism will present findings from a new national survey of how Americans feel about China.

"We think this is an excellent opportunity for local media to better understand and report on China," Kennedy said. "As you may know, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard have made developing business ties with China, and Zhejiang and Hangzhou respectively, a high priority. Both have visited China and Gov. Daniels returned to Hangzhou in November."

The delegation also will include Benjamin Shobert, managing director of Teleos Inc; Mat Orrego, president and chief executive officer of Cornerstone Information Systems; and R. Matthew Neff, president and CEO of University Health Management Inc.

In the days following the conference, the delegation will meet with government officials from Hangzhou and Zhejiang Province, visit the offices of -- China's largest online-commerce site -- as well as several bioscience, electronics manufacturing and automotive companies in and around Hangzhou and Shanghai (the final three days will be spent in Shanghai).

IU and Zhejiang University have had a close relationship since 1982, when the two institutions signed an agreement of friendship and cooperation. Hangzhou and the city of Indianapolis are sister cities and Indiana and Zhejiang province also are sister states. This May, RCCPB will establish an office in Beijing, through support from the Henry Luce Foundation, which is also supporting the center's major new initiative on China and global governance.

Those interested in the group's activities in China will be able to follow its travels through a blog, "IU Takes You to China," beginning Thursday, March 10, and prepared by George Vlahakis, manager of media relations in IU's Office of University Communications, and another blog, "The China Track," produced by the RCCPB.

Support for the trip comes from the Cornerstone Information Systems, CIBER, the IU School of Journalism, the IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, and the IU East Asian Studies Center.