What I’m seeing reinforces for me in profound and powerful ways the opportunities here for our students, faculty, commonwealth and country.
Already, I’ve met UK students studying abroad in China. I’ve seen firsthand how their opportunities are expanding horizons and strengthening their education. I again came away knowing the University of Kentucky can offer a unique experience that prepares them for a 21st century economy and global marketplace of ideas and commerce.
I had the fortune of meeting the Chinese Vice-Minister of Education to discuss further growth in our professional development programs for teachers abroad. Vice-Minister Hao Ping was instrumental in the approval process for UK’s Confucius Institute – a jewel of UK’s international profile.
Important to our delegation visit is finding endeavors can yield significant opportunities for Kentucky. In the first three days, I’ve enjoyed substantive conversations that can potentially impact our equine and energy industries.
Very few places outside of the Bluegrass Region have as high of a concentration of expertise and preeminence in all areas of the equine industry. Breeding, raising, training, competition, research and sales are critical to central Kentucky’s economy. For many years, the University of Kentucky has been an important research partner in the equine economy, and our collaborations with Keeneland and the Kentucky Horse Park have been mutually beneficial.
Early in my visit, I shared lunch with the leadership of the Chinese Equestrian Association and Capital University of Physical Education and Sports. We discussed opportunities for UK, alongside Keeneland and the Kentucky Horse Park, to lend our expertise to China’s growing equine industry.
I just concluded a meeting with the representatives of the largest power company in the world. Thanks to Rodney Andrews and Kunlei Liu with our Center for Applied Energy Research we were able to describe our exciting work in the development of clean coal technology and discuss partnerships and exchanges of students as part of the US-China Clean Energy Research Center.
As we met, Rodney described power plants being built in China that are using technologies 50 years ahead of what is being deployed in our country.
To put research into a further context, the Chinese government has ordered power companies here to invest $1 trillion in coal utilization research and development over the next 5 years. In comparison, the entire research budget for the U.S. Department of Energy for next 5 years is estimated to be $2-2.5 billion all together.
That underscores the competitive landscape our country and our students will face now and in the coming years as our global economy continues to be transformed.
But it also underscores the opportunity for our university and faculty as we develop further ties to this important economic, cultural and educational partner. As we move into an innovation economy, the investment in ideas and cutting-edge technology is critical to remaining competitive and building a better future. Universities across the country need to lead in a time of intensive research and development.
In this context, we must create more experiences for our students on this exciting frontier. Given the work our faculty already are doing here, and the relationships being built, I’m confident that we will.
I look forward to my return where we can discuss even more the potential ahead for our university as we explore partnerships and collaboration that bring the world closer to our students.
Until next time, see blue.