"From sports and outdoor apparel companies to high-tech manufacturing firms, the economy in Oregon is heavily connected with East Asia," said James C. Bean, dean of the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business. "Companies are telling us that they need more graduates with cultural and language capabilities that can help them do business abroad."
In response to those concerns, Bean, Professor Emeritus Rick Steers, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs Andrew Verner, and Managing Director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Paul Swangard collaborated with the UO Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS) to apply for and win a U.S. Department of Education Business and International Education Grant. With the two-year grant, the college launched an Engaging China initiative to expose business students and faculty to the culture and social context of East Asia.
The first outcome of the initiative was a spring 2006 seminar series that featured presentations by UO and Oregon State University faculty on Chinese history, U.S.-China relations, and the Chinese economy. To bring the content of those seminars to life, students from the Warsaw Center subsequently traveled to China in September to get a first-hand perspective on Chinese culture and business (see related story below). The Engaging China initiative focused on the Warsaw Center for the first year of the grant because of an existing relationship between the center, Shanghai's Fudan University, and the Chinese Olympic Committee.
The Engaging China grant also complements a larger East-Asia initiative at the UO. As Jeffrey Hanes, director of CAPS, noted, "The Engaging China series is a very important piece of the university's East-Asia initiative. The program we developed with the college of business is exactly what UO President Dave Frohnmayer wanted to happen when he launched the East Asia initiative with the goal of building on the university's strong ties with East Asian countries to create new opportunities for students, faculty members, and businesses."
"Engaging China," added Bean, "is about expanding students' knowledge of business in different cultures in order to better prepare them to succeed in today's international climate. We owe a lot of thanks to Jeff Hanes and CAPS for taking the lead on helping us launch this effort."