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Focus on China


The CIE and Nazareth College are increasing their focus on the world's most populous country. Following a successful exploratory visit last year by Dr. George Eisen along with Vice President for Academic Affairs Sara Varhus, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Deborah Dooley, Assistant Professor of History Nevan Fisher, and Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Yuanting Zhao, the college's first study tour to the People's Republic of China will be held this year from May 20 through June 8. The trip this year will be led by Fisher, who is director of the College's Asian Studies Program, and Zhao.

Twenty three students have signed up for the trip, which will focus on "The Many Facets of China." According to Fisher, the group will look at some of the key issues facing China. "We'll address urban vs. rural development, coastal vs. interior culture, and tradition vs. modernity," he said.

To participate, students must have taken a previous course focused on Asia, however the trip is open to and relevant for Nazareth students from many academic programs, not just those in the College's growing Asian studies program. "The group is across the board," said Fisher. "We have freshmen to seniors, and a good cross-section of majors."

The group will learn through a variety of events. There are plans for in-country lectures, tours of farms and factories, a hike in a mountainous region, an evening at the National Theatre, a walk on the Great Wall, and travel into a Chinese minority nationalities zone.

The trip, and the College's increased focus on China, are coming at a pivotal time in the United State's relationship with a country that is playing an increasing role in global politics and the global economy. Since the initiation of economic reforms in the late 70s and early 80s, China has become the world's fastest growing economy, as well as the largest exporter and second largest importer of goods. The Beijing Olympics in 2008 placed China squarely at the center of international media, with mixed results. Issues facing the country—from population control and alleged human rights violations to environmental challenges - have increasingly made the front pages of newspapers in the U.S. and across the globe. The upcoming World Expo in Shanghai will continue the dialogue.

"The timing for this trip couldn't be better," said Fisher. "Considering China's growing importance in the lives of our students and for the 21st century, there is no substitute for firsthand experience in this country. This will be Nazareth's first sustained attempt to bring a large group of students to the world's most dynamic economy, to link the college and our students to China, and to further create a global consciousness."

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