Significance of Education in China

UW-Madison Dean of International Studies to speak in West Bend

University of Wisconsin-Madison scholar Gilles Bousquet will speak about the lessons Wisconsin can take from China's current heavy investment in higher education and its cultural tradition of stressing the importance of higher education on Wednesday, Sept. 28, in West Bend at the University of Wisconsin- Washington County.

Reflecting on recent trips to China, Bousquet urges Wisconsin students to learn a language like Chinese or travel to a place like China. He emphasizes that Americans are now global citizens and can benefit from exposure to other cultures.

Bousquet is dean of the Division of International Studies, vice-provost for globalization, director of the International Institute, special assistant to the chancellor for international engagement, and Pickard-Bascom Professor of French at UW-Madison.

According to Bousquet, the Chinese educational system is profound and impressive and cause to reflect upon our own educational system.

“On my most recent trip to China, the delegation I led visited 11 campuses, ranging from a teaching hospital in Beijing to the highly-regarded comprehensive Fudan University in Shanghai to the sparkling new Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,” recalls Bousquet. “At every single campus I toured, I was impressed--indeed sometimes overwhelmed -- by the investment in higher education underway in China.  These universities are hiring professors, adding new campuses, and building new programs.  They are looking to the United States for ideas and collaborations because we are respected and admired for our higher education system.  The question I now grapple with is: do we ourselves respect and admire this system?”

As the leader of UW-Madison’s strategy for internationalization, Bousquet says he has observed the growing importance of Asia, and China in particular. 

“In terms of trends in higher education, interest in innovation and entrepreneurship, and job opportunities for our students, China is important to my campus, to the UW system and indeed to the entire state,” he says.

Bousquet is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from France. This aspect of his life, he says, helps him understand the growing connections between China and the U.S.

“My background as a European is relevant to my work because it gives me a certain sensitivity to the importance of study abroad, language learning and having a multicultural approach to global citizenship,” explains Bousquet. “In my day we learned French, German and Spanish; now we promote Arabic, Chinese and Hindi -- what matters is that language learning of any variety is an asset in today’s global marketplace, something to encourage for all of our students.”

Bousquet’s talk takes place at 6:30 p.m. in Room 305 at UW-WC, located at 400 University Drive in West Bend. The talk is part of UW-WC’s Community Lecture Series and is sponsored by the Matt Zillig Global Citizenship Fund, which sponsors one lecture each year at the university.  The title of this year’s lecture series is “Focus on China.” Immediately following Bousquet’s talk, there will be a social event featuring Chinese food and drink, hosted by the Friends of Matt Zillig.

Community members and area students are welcome to attend the Focus on China lectures free of charge. Use the main entrance and follow the interior directional signs. Free parking is available. 


Sue Bausch