President John Fry and a Drexel University delegation just returned from China, where they joined a tour of the country by The Philadelphia Orchestra and met with leaders to create and strengthen connections with several higher-education institutions there. The trip included the announcement of a historic four-way partnership with Nankai University and the Tianjin Museum of National History, as well as visits to strengthen Drexel’s bonds with the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute (SARI) and the newly established ShanghaiTech.
In Shanghai, the delegation visited ShanghaiTech University, a new institution led by a Drexel alumnus, Jiang Mianheng, PhD. ShanghaiTech was jointly established by the Shanghai Municipal Government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to promote first-class undergraduate and graduate education and cutting-edge research. Its campus is being built next to SARI, where Drexel shares a joint research center.
Later, in Tianjin, a sister city of Philadelphia, members of the delegation took part in ceremonies linking Drexel and the Academy of Natural Sciences with Nankai University and the Tianjin Museum of National History. Joining Fry to preside over the event were David Velinsky, chairman of the Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Earth Sciences and vice president of the Academy of Natural Sciences; and Julie Mostov, vice provost for global initiatives. Drexel first signed an agreement with Nankai in December 2012, with Mayor Michael Nutter and Tianjin Mayor Huang Xingguo present. The new, four-way partnership will pave the way for the exchange of people, ideas, collections and exhibitions between the two sister cities.
The delegation joined on the China trip because Drexel is the education partner for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Tour of Asia and China Residency. Members of the Drexel community in China, including incoming students and their families, were able to experience performances by the world-renowned orchestra firsthand. The program marks the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and China.
Beginning May 21 and closing June 6, the tour covers major cities in mainland China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Changsha, and Shenzhen, where the orchestra is presenting works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler, along with a special performance of “Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women,” by Chinese composer Tan Dun. In addition to the mainland cities, the orchestra also makes a return trip to Macao for the second consecutive year before continuing on to concerts in Tokyo, Japan. The Orchestra concludes its 2014 Tour of Asia with a concert in Taipei, Taiwan.