Sep 072010
 
Authors: Emily Johnson

The Office of International Affairs today kicks off a community discussion designed to show how eight CSU colleges are collaborating with Chinese universities and government agencies to build ongoing educational and research opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

The colloquium, made up of 10 panel discussions focusing on environmental issues, wildlife, business, culture and U.S.-China relations, runs today and tomorrow and will feature panelists from CSU, distinguished visitors from China and many experts from the public and private sectors.

Discussions will take place in the Lory Student Center and are free of charge and open to students, faculty and the Fort Collins community.
CSU launched its first international colloquium last year, which covered challenges to global sustainability and drew nearly 750 people, according to James Cooney, the vice provost for International Affairs.

Since CSU has partnerships with four of the country’s most prestigious universities, Cooney said making China the colloquium focus was “absolutely the logical choice.”

Two years ago, CSU signed an agreement with East China Normal University that placed an office representing the university on ECNU’s Shanghai campus. This summer, CSU initiated a language and culture program for which 20 students traveled to China to study at ECNU.

ECNU and North West Agriculture and Forestry University are both sending delegations to the colloquium. The president of ECNU, professor Lizhong Yu, also leads a five-member delegation from his university in Shanghai.

Several discussions will center on climate and the environmental health of two of the world’s most industrial countries.

In the past year, China has become the largest greenhouse gas emitter and just a few weeks ago became the largest energy consumer, said Bryan Willson, director of the Engines & Energy Conversion Lab.

“Between China and the U.S., we consume half of the world’s energy and produce half of the world’s climate-forcing emissions,” Wilson said.
China is changing though.

“The biggest change I see is that China is in the midst of transitioning from a nation that copies innovation to a nation that creates innovation,” Wilson said.

Wilson has been to China 15 times since 2005. He said that the
country’s pace of change, particularly in the energy sector, has been “stunning.”

Dennis Ojima, senior liaison for sustainable Development and Strategic
Networking, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, has organized the session, “How Low Can You Go: Strategies to Reduce
Carbon Emissions and Still Grow the Economy.” He believes advances are critical for China to reduce the global climate impact while maintaining a leadership position in various technologies.

Currently, he said, China and the U.S. are talking about co-developing a system that would allow the two countries to test whether various low carbon strategies reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Some strategies include carbon capture and storage (CCS) at coal powered generators, advances in wind and solar-electric powered vehicles. China just announced the commitment of a number of its large cities to reduce overall emissions in the coming years, Ojima said.

Another discussion aims to help the community understand wildlife
conservation in a social and cultural context within the U.S. and China.

The most significant problem is society’s perception of the value of
wildlife conservation, said Michael J. Manfredo, professor and department head of the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources.

Sarah Bexell, director of Conservation Education for the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, will provide a description of the Chinese attitudes and values toward wildlife and conservation and how they are changing.

“In the long run, our ability to affect wildlife conservation in China will depend on the ability to understand and work cross-culturally,” Cooney said. “This might be a good opportunity for some of our undergraduates to learn more about this type of career.”

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:26 pm

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