On Thursday, September 1, 2016, the 5th Biennial Summit on US/China Education, co-hosted by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University, the Confucius Institute at NC State University, NC State Board of Education, NC Department of Public Instruction and Go Global NC, was successfully held at the Friday Institute on Centennial Campus. Since the NC State Board of Education and Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) in 2008, both North Carolina and China have achieved prominent growth in maintaining an educational and cultural partnership to further Chinese-American cooperation and understanding, especially in the commitment to growing Chinese language programs in NC.
As our world becomes flatter, global connections, collaboration, and interdependence become increasingly important for educational, political, social, as well as economic success. Despite cultural differences between China and the US, the two countries share common concerns, most notably in the area of education. These concerns include preparing students for 21st-century life and work, accelerating second language learning (Chinese and English), and providing continuous education for educators. Both countries have interest in re-designing their educational systems to foster creativity and innovation among students and educators. As Chinese and US educators embrace this challenge, we can pool our intellectual and social capital to create forward thinking solutions that are mutually beneficial. US partnerships with Chinese educators and students provide opportunities to share educational best practices as both countries strive to provide students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and dispositions for success in a rapidly changing world.
Over 27 speakers from local government, education and business, such as, Dr. June St. Clair Atkinson, State Superintendent of North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; William Cobey, Chairman of North Carolina State Board of Education; Rebecca Wyhof, President of Blue Roof Strategies; and Dr. Bailian Li, Vice Provost for International Affairs at NC State, shared remarks. More than 150 participants gathered together and expressed their ideas on the theme of this summit–“NC & China: Connecting, Collaborating and Creating for the Future”. They shared their expertise, articulated their vision for continued global cooperation, and outlined the challenges as well as promises of the rapidly changing social, political, and technological global community of the 21st century.
Hiller A. Spires, Professor & Sr. Research Fellow of NC State University, gave welcoming remarks as the Friday Institute was the host of the 2016 Summit (the 2018 Summit will be hosted by Go Global NC). Dr. Bailian Li, Vice Provost of the Office of International Affairs of NC State University reviewed the history of the Summit and highlighted the growth of the Confucius Institute since its opening in 2006, as they celebrate their 10th anniversary. The Summit had four panels:
- Government and Politics: How do North Carolina and Chinese governments connect?
- Business and Industry: How do North Carolina and Chinese businesses collaborate?
- Education and Learning: How does global education in North Carolina and China create new opportunities?
- Education Policy: How does education policy facilitate the creation of new opportunities between North Carolina and China?
Some other highlights at the Summit included a Chinese-English presentation by students at Waddell Language Academy (Immersion School in Charlotte area), student-led discussions from Wake STEM Early College student and the world-premiere video of the opening of Suzhou North American High School in partnership with the Friday Institute. Former Chair of the NC State Board of Education, Howard Lee and current Chair, William Cobey, wrapped up the Summit with a history of the MOU with Jiangsu and challenged the audience to continue to partner together to meet new challenges.