In early April, Los Angeles Chinese Consul General Zhang Ping and a delegation of Chinese government officials met with various campus leaders, including Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, Provost Cindy Larive, and Vice Provost of International Affairs Kelechi Kalu.
Zhang said during the visit that his office – on behalf of the Chinese government – is actively looking for academic partnerships and UC Riverside seems like a natural partner.
Zhang’s visit to campus, which included a tour of the Multidisciplinary Research Building and CE-CERT, was a result of a meeting with Kalu in Los Angeles at the 40thanniversary celebration of China-US diplomatic engagement in December. Zhang expressed interest in learning more about UCR’s research in agriculture, air pollution, and medicine.
“Educational exchange programs are a big part of a bilateral relationship,” Zhang said. “UCR is one of the universities in Southern California where we see our students arrive, and they always have great things to say.”
According to fall 2018 records, nearly 34 percent of the total UCR student population is Asian, and of those, nearly 32 percent identify themselves as Chinese or Chinese American. This fall, UCR had a total of 1,797 international students, with 991 students coming from China.
When UCR hired Kalu four years ago, the intention was to develop relationships with leaders such as Zhang in order to better support both Chinese students who come to UCR, and UCR students who study in China, Wilcox said. Kalu is UCR’s first vice provost for International Affairs.
“We want to be more focused, intentional,” Wilcox said. “We’re trying to be smart, thinking of good partners who want to be strong, long-term collaborators with UC Riverside.”
Larive said UCR representatives have already visited Anhui Province, China, several times and are developing rapport with universities there for future collaborations in engineering, business, natural and agricultural sciences, and medicine.