At the end of June Hunan International Economics University (HIEU) received a group of twelve 2013 US Presidential Scholars, a distinguished accolade for the top graduating high school seniors. This group of Scholars has made HIEU a part of their annual visit to China since 2010.
Since joining the Laureate network in 2009, HEIU has made many positive steps to further strengthen its internationalization pillar, and has focused on developing global perspectives and articulation. This has included visits by top students from countries around the world such as the US along with corporate leaders and entrepreneurs to the HIEU campus. This is part of a concerted effort to broaden mindsets and perspectives in line with the school’s mission “see the world, learn the world, and explore the world”. Through direct communication and interaction, like-minded and dynamic youth from two vastly different countries have forged new bonds and friendship amidst a backdrop of respect, tolerance and understanding.
The visit to HIEU included local art and culture such as traditional Chinese calligraphy, painting, dragon dance and paper-cutting; all of which were very well received.
“Culture is a key approach to exchange ideas, although we are coming from different regions in the States,” said Marc Berger, team leader of these 12 Presidential Scholars, “what we saw and experienced here will have profound impact on our lives.”
A deeper dialogue between these US students and the top high school students in Hunan was conducted at HIEU’s academic Hall. This discussion forum “Sino-American Youth Leader Forum” was hosted by a prominent business leader Victor Yuan, who facilitated discussions on a wide range of topics including access to universities, education system and understanding of other countries.
During the discussion, Victor Yuan initiated a dialogue on the selection of a university major, which differs greatly in China and the US. In China, parents play a large role in this selection process and students are often at crossroads about their major. On the other side of the spectrum, US students are clear about their major and make informed decisions independently. This is reflective of the different education systems and societal expectations.
Victor Yuan also drew attention to the interests of the two groups of students. Chinese students for instance are largely interested in pop culture, while the US students have a strong interest to learn more about the Chinese economy, political scene and cultural environment. “The US students are also more inclined to express their personal ideas and views,” he said.
HIEU President Zhang who also attended the forum said: “we hope to increase understanding and enhance cooperation and communication between the youth leaders of the two countries. They are the future leaders of the world and it is important that we create a bridge that can help build long term positive relations that can benefit global development.”
HIEU:Founded in 1997, Hunan International Economics University (HIEU) is one of the largest private universities in the People's Republic of China, and has been ranked as one of the top three institutions among over 300 private universities in China by the China University Alumni Association for the past eight consecutive years. It is accredited as a four-year comprehensive university with the approval of the State Ministry of Education and Hunan Provincial Government. HIEU is situated in Changsha City, a bustling city of seven million people and the capital of Hunan Province. In addition to consistent exposure to world-class resources, best practices and world-renowned speakers which brings a new dimension to the learning experience, HIEU also has the distinction of being a member of the Laureate International Universities network which comprises 60 universities in 29 countries with over 740,000 students. President Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States of America and the founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, serves as the Honorary Chancellor of Laureate International Universities.
The United States Presidential Scholars Program:It is “one of the Nation's highest honors for high school students" in the United States of America. It was established in 1964 by executive order of the President of the United States to recognize and celebrate the most distinguished American graduating high school seniors. Each year, the United States Department of Education and the Presidentially-appointed White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects up to 141 students as Presidential Scholars: 121 in the academics and 20 in the arts.