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Indiana University

IU to establish a presence in Beijing as a result of Henry Luce Foundation gift

April 7, 2010
Bloomington, Indiana --

The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a three-year, $250,000 grant to Indiana University for an initiative on China and global governance that will lead to the university establishing a permanent presence in Beijing.

Combined with additional support totaling about $450,000 from 15 academic and research centers at IU, the Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business (RCCPB) will establish offices in the Chinese capital later this year.

The Luce Foundation grant primarily will support the center's Initiative on China and Global Governance, a research project leading to better understanding of the extent of China's involvement in worldwide issues such as trade, finance, technology, competition policy, energy, the environment and health. It also will be used to increase engagement with governments, international organizations and industries based in China or active there.

"This grant will help the Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business to expand its capabilities and establish a much-needed permanent presence in China, which, in turn, will provide many outstanding benefits to our faculty, students and visiting scholars," said IU President Michael McRobbie. "Additionally, it will help the center more effectively bring together industry experts and policymakers, as well as scholars from other U.S. universities and across China, to address issues of importance to the world's economy, environment, public health and security."

"The growth of this center will support IU's growing engagement efforts with China and build upon the already strong relationship that exists between China and the state of Indiana," McRobbie added. "We are most grateful to the Luce Foundation for its support of the center and its Initiative on China and Global Governance, and the university's strategic vision to deepen our engagement with and understanding of this influential part of the world through education, research and public outreach."

As a major rising power, China is understandably shifting from being a rule-taker to a rule-maker, and this has major implications for how the world cooperates to address our most pressing challenges, said Scott Kennedy, the research center's director. The Luce Foundation-funded initiative will support research, conferences and publications by leading scholars in the United States, China and elsewhere.

The Luce Foundation's support will enable the RCCPB to become one of the first American university-based research centers operating in China and to take projects in a different direction from the more common general education and language training programs established by many U.S.-based universities, said Kennedy, also an associate professor in IU's East Asian Languages and Cultures and Political Science departments.

"The heart of the center is about providing thought leadership on issues that meet at the intersection of Chinese politics and the global world of business. We can do that, to some extent, from Bloomington with brief trips to China," Kennedy said. "By being on the ground with a permanent presence, we'll be able to do much more effective research that consistently generates results and engage policymakers directly . . . You can't do that without a footprint in China.

"What we want to do is become part of the community there. That will make our research and the outreach that flows from that research a lot easier to accomplish," he added.

Other activities supported by the grant include the creation of an experts dialogue group, a government-industry roundtable series, a conference in Geneva directed at the international diplomatic community and and policy-oriented reports.

IU has a lengthy history of international activities. For example, it currently has more than 15 agreements with Chinese institutions, including Peking University, Sun Yat-sen University, Tsinghua University and Zhejiang University. RCCPB will establish a formal home within one of China's elite universities.

RCCPB's facilities in China will be an additional resource for state efforts to bring investment to Indiana as well as new export markets for goods and services produced by Hoosiers. Several research associates in the center are studying Chinese foreign investment abroad and can provide advice about doing business in China.

While Kennedy will spend most of the academic year in China, the center will soon bring on an associate director at IU Bloomington. Other senior associates will continue to do research and the center will host many programs here. It also will provide new opportunities for students to study in China and for faculty to conduct research there.

Kennedy described the additional support RCCPB has received from 15 academic and research units at IU Bloomington and IUPUI as extraordinary in these critical budgetary times. Supporters at IU include the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the Maurer School of Law, the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the IUPUI Office of International Affairs, the East Asian Studies Center and the Kelley School of Business.

The research center also has reached an agreement with the IU's Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, co-founded by Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom, to share resources.

"The center has been a unit that crosses disciplinary and administrative boundaries. We have lots of involvement from different schools on two campuses. By staying true to that mission during our first few years we were able to attract this type of support," he said. "There's interest from all parts of the university in China and we'd like to eventually be a vehicle for a lot of different needs."

The Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business was created in 2007. Its 11 faculty associates initially set out to study U.S.-China business cooperation, economic regulation and lawmaking in China, and China and global governance. Last year, it organized a major three-day conference at Indianapolis and Bloomington that attracted more than 500 attendees, including business executives who came from China. A follow-up conference in Shanghai and Hangzhou is now being planned.

The center's Web site is located at http://www.indiana.edu/~rccpb/.

The Henry Luce Foundation (www.hluce.org) was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc. The foundation today includes grant-making that supports higher education, American art, public policy and the environment, theology, women in science and engineering, and increased understanding between the United States and Asia.

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