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Engaging China: History, Culture, Politics

The “Engaging China” project represents a collaboration between the Lundquist College of Business and the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Oregon. The project grew out of a UO-wide East Asia initiative launched by the university president in 2004. It is supported by a two-year U.S. Department of Education Business and International Education grant.

The project aims to introduce faculty and students in the MBA program to the challenges and opportunities of business in China, and it works from the premise that cultural and historical knowledge are essential to business success. In preparation for this study tour to Beijing and Shanghai, faculty and students participated in a semester-long seminar series that featured lectures on Chinese culture, history, politics, economics, and business by UO faculty China experts and distinguished invited speakers. During the summer prior to the study tour, students worked through background reading assignments and worked up research projects related to an annual theme: Sports Marketing and the Beijing Olympics in Year 1 and Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Supply Chain in Year 2. Upon their return from the study tour, faculty participants will integrate their experience into the MBA curriculum, and student participants will submit final reports and generate presentations for local and regional businesspeople.

Now in its second year, the “Engaging China” project has made an indelible impact on the MBA program. Private donors have stepped up to offer continuing support, and the College of Business has committed itself over the long term to cultivate greater awareness of Asia’s place in the global economy, to revise the business curriculum accordingly, and thus to prepare select students for careers in international business.

It is our hope that the “Engaging China” project will stimulate other new international projects on campus, similarly conceived to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-cultural learning.