Last summer Professor Justine Su, Director of CSUN’s China Institute, helped to facilitate the donation of more than 2,000 textbooks, CDs, DVDs, and various other interactive learning materials to the Oviatt Library. These diverse items gifted to the university by Ambassador Liu Jian, Consul General, and the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles will be a valuable resource for the study of Chinese language and culture, not only in the Library, but in the Barbara Ann Ward Language Center and classrooms as well.
Just this week Ambassador Liu and a small group of Education Consuls were invited to the Oviatt Library for a book donation ceremony during which President Dianne Harrison, Dean Mark Stover, Dean Elizabeth Say, and Dr. Justine Su expressed their gratitude for the consulate’s continuing and generous support. A beautiful display of original illustrations from a collection of Chinese children’s books decorated the walls of the Ferman Presentation Room, where the event was held. During the event, Ambassador Liu shared a presentation with the gathering on U.S. – China relations and education collaboration. The CSUN Women’s Chorale, which has twice traveled to China to perform at international arts festivals, performed two songs.
This very friendly and mutually beneficial partnership between CSUN and China is not new. CSUN began to pursue educational and cultural exchanges with China following President Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972, and in 1979 CSUN opened its doors to the first Chinese academic delegation to visit the United States. In 1981, CSUN President James Cleary spearheaded an innovative effort and succeeded in formalizing educational exchange programs between CSUN and China. The following year the China Institute was established at CSUN to promote a better understanding of the Chinese culture and to strengthen the friendship between American and Chinese peoples through academic, educational, and cultural programs.
Over the years, CSUN has continued to host a growing number of Chinese scholars and students, and the Chinese Consulate has worked to secure a number of full scholarships for CSUN students to study in China, including seven in the current academic year. A few years ago, the Chinese Consulate also donated 1000 items on Chinese language and culture studies to the CSUN Library and former Chinese Ambassador Jianhua Zhong came to CSUN for a book donation ceremony and presentation. Just this past September President Harrison visited seven of CSUN’s sister campuses in China and attended meetings with university, civic, and business leaders to help strengthen CSUN’s collaborative bond with a continually expanding number of educational partners. Professor Su says, “Based on President Cleary’s foresight and leadership, CSUN has for 35 years maintained an active role in U.S. – China education exchange.”
When asked in what ways she would like to see the education partnership between CSUN and China continue to grow, Professor Su replied: “We plan to develop more and better exchange and collaboration programs for our faculty and students in the future. We especially want to create more resources and opportunities for long-term and short-term studies in China for our students, and collaborative research and teaching opportunities in China for our faculty.” If history is any indication, there is little doubt that this cherished relationship will continue to grow, and as it does the Oviatt Library will continue to play an integral and enthusiastic role.