Prof. Dali Yang appointed faculty director of Center in Beijing
Prof. Dali Yang, a leading scholar of political institutions and political economy in China, will be the first faculty director of the University of Chicago Center in Beijing, scheduled to open in September.
Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum appointed Yang, who previously chaired the faculty committee that in 2008 recommended creating the center, to a three-year term as the founding faculty director.
Yang is already actively involved in planning the launch of the center. Together with a newly appointed steering committee, which includes faculty from across the University, he will help shape and support the center's intellectual direction and programming.
He will have overall responsibility for ensuring that the center meets the needs of Chicago scholars in China, from undergraduates up through senior faculty. The director will support the many collaborations between scholars from Chicago and China, strengthen ties between the University and research institutions in China, and engage with alumni throughout the region.
"Dali's deep knowledge of Chinese culture and political life has been invaluable to us in creating the Center, and his passion and ambitions for the Center will be key ingredients in its success," Rosenbaum said. "Under his leadership we look forward to the Beijing Center becoming a destination of choice for top scholars across the disciplines."
Trained first as an engineer and then as a political scientist, Yang has chronicled the convulsive transformations in the political institutions and political economy of his native country during the 20th century, and has become a leading scholar of its emergence as one of the world's leading economic powers.
Yang was born and raised in Shandong, China. He earned a B.S. in industrial engineering in 1983 from the Beijing University of Science and Technology, but he had already developed an interest in English and the social sciences.
In 1984 he earned a diploma in advanced studies of English from the Beijing Foreign Studies University, and in 1986 he came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in political science. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1993, and he became an assistant professor in the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science the same year.
He has held a variety of administrative responsibilities. He directed the Committee on International Relations from 1999 to 2004 and served as chairman of the Department of Political Science from 2004 to 2007.Since 2008 he has been director of the Center for East Asian Studies.
"The opportunity to help create a permanent base in China for Chicago scholars is a tremendous honor," Yang said. "The Center will position the University at the forefront of U.S.-China educational exchanges, and I am thrilled to work with faculty from across campus on this exciting venture."
President Robert J. Zimmer announced the creation of the center last fall, citing the long and storied history of intellectual collaborations between scholars from China and Chicago.
The new center will span the University's disciplines, focusing its programming in three broad areas: business, economics and policy; science, medicine and public health; and culture, society and the arts. The Center will serve as a home for Chicago students and researchers working in China, and a host for conferences and symposiums bringing together an international community, but will not grant degrees.
Work is now under way on a 23,000-square-foot site in the Haidan District of Beijing, a neighborhood known for its rich mix of major universities, research institutions and government policy centers. The center's official opening is scheduled for Sept. 15, when it will join the Center in Paris and Chicago Booth campuses in Singapore and London as permanent bases for the University's global engagement.
The Center in Beijing will be overseen by a governing committee, chaired by the Provost and including at least four academic deans, on a rotating basis. The Provost is also convening a steering committee led by the faculty director of the center, and including nine faculty members - three representing each of the center's intellectual themes.
The steering committee will help guide the intellectual agenda of the center, and allocate resources in support of each of the program areas. In the inaugural year of programming, the steering committee and its subcommittees will develop, implement and promote a conference or other programs of international stature in each of the three program areas.
On a day-to-day basis, Yang will work closely with Beth Bader, who has been named executive director of the center. As chief operating officer of the center, Bader will oversee administrative functions and staffing, and help create and implement a strategic plan in support of the direction provided by the faculty director and steering committee.
Bader comes to Beijing from Singapore, where she spent the last decade managing Chicago Booth's presence in Asia, serving as managing director of the Singapore campus. Bader has worked for the University for 25 years.
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