Students launch chapter of Global China Connection
Club to host panel discussion on intersection of business, environment in China
If you had told Jamie Fleishman four years ago that Chinese language and culture would soon play a large role in life, he would have said you were crazy.
But a Chinese language course Fleishman ‘11 enrolled in the summer before his freshman year - as a challenge, a change of pace - altered his path. He continued his language studies throughout college, spent a semester in China his junior year and is helping to get a Global China Connection chapter off the ground at Brandeis.
On Sunday, April 10, the group, which is still in its infancy and not a formally recognized club on campus, will host the panel discussion, "From Red to Green: The Intersection of Business and Environment in China."
"[Club members] have always seen the environment as a topic that is extremely relevant to Chinese policy and that the Brandeis community would be interested in," Fleishman says, because China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases and contains seven of the world's top 10 most polluted cities.
Environmental studies professor Charles Chester will moderate a panel comprised of Zhang Tao, the chief operating officer of New Ventures at the World Resources Institute; Gary Jefferson, the Carl Marks Professor of International Trade and Finance and Brandeis' International Business School China specialist; and Chinese entrepreneurs Yucheng Yang, chairman of Sinen En-Tech; Guoquiang Gao, founder and board chairman of Ecostar; Zen Liu, director of Shenyang SME's Credit Guarantee Center; and Walter Ge, director of New Ventures China.
The discussion will be held from 7 to 9 p.m., in the International Business School's Lee Hall.
"The main goal is just to get people more interested and aware of everything that's happening in China related to the business environment," says Fleishman. "Especially for people who may work in China, to see what is actually happening on the ground to promote alternative energy."
It's also an opportunity, he says, for people of disparate backgrounds and interests to come together to think about how to solve the "big environmental problems that China and the world is dealing with."
"Between the Olympics and its economy in general, China has taken a huge role in world affairs, and my career might be internationally focused," Fleishman says, noting that the GCC helps him prepare for that.
Steven Zhu ‘13, an environmental studies major, helped secure some of the panelists for Sunday's event, and says the focus of the event is on small-to-medium environmental enterprises and their role in China's environmental struggle.
"[Small-to-medium environmental enterprises] are going to be huge in China in the near future," Zhu says. "I hope the audiences can get to know [them] and find more opportunities in this particular field."
This isn't the GCC's first attempt to bring the community together. Last semester the Brandeis chapter and the East Asian studies department co-sponsored a talk on the history of chopsticks. This spring, it held an information session on the organization and study abroad programs in China; Fleishman helped organize a panel of four students who had studied there, as well as faculty from the Office of Study Abroad.
On its website, the Global China Connection describes itself as an "organization promoting cooperation between premier students in China and the international community." The nonprofit has more than 50 university chapters around the world.