Reflecting on the Center in Beijing’s 10th anniversary, future of higher education

University leaders discuss challenges, opportunities—and the importance of international collaboration

Since it opened in 2010, the Center in Beijing has served as a hub to enhance and strengthen the University of Chicago’s rich tradition of interdisciplinary engagement in China.

In a recent fireside chat, President Robert J. Zimmer reflected on the importance of the University’s international collaborations, and how the landscape of higher education has changed over the past decade. Held with Juan de Pablo—the Vice President for National Laboratories, Science Strategy, Innovation and Global Initiatives—the conversation was the culmination of a monthlong series of events held in celebration of the Center’s 10th anniversary.

During the Jan. 29 talk, Zimmer discussed the dramatic expansion of UChicago’s global presence, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

“Many of the problems people are confronting all over the world—and that, in particular, many of our faculty are concerned with in terms of their own research agenda—are fundamentally global problems,” Zimmer said. “They’re not going to be solved by looking at them through the lens of one country.”

The conversation concluded with comments from Provost Ka Yee C. Lee, who raised a toast to those who were foundational to the launch of the Center in Beijing, and those who continue to further its mission.

Since its opening, the Center has hosted over 500 events, welcomed over 45,000 visitors, and served over 2,500 faculty, staff and students. It remains a cornerstone for the University’s global presence, which extends to hundreds of programs and initiatives in more than 40 countries on all seven continents.