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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Davenport says trip to China was successful

Dele­gates from Mankato said their trip to China laid the foundation for creating new relationships and nurturing exist­ing ones with the swiftly changing nation.

2012-12-17
Brian Ojanpa, Mankato Free Press 12-15-2012

MANKATO — A good time was had by all. But more importantly, dele­gates from Mankato said their trip to China laid the foundation for creating new relationships and nurturing exist­ing ones with the swiftly changing nation.

“It was a highly successful trip,” said Minnesota State University President Richard Davenport, who led a group that included university offi­cials and Mankato Mayor Eric Anderson.

The delegation returned Monday, and at a news conference Friday, Davenport said the purpose of the trip was to create sister- city relationships, form academic partnerships and pursue Oriental studies research initiatives that could position MSU in a long- term leadership role in the United States.

Davenport said the impetus for the trip grew from a relationship established three years ago with Chinese officials looking to MSU’s aviation program to train Chinese helicopter pilots.

That plan never came to fruition, but Davenport on Friday said to stay tuned.

“The aviation project is still very much alive, but we do have to wait for China to get their infrastructure in place.”

He was speaking of the 200 “aviation zones” China is constructing that will accommodate aviation needs in a country where progressive change is occurring at a breakneck pace.

The trip also focused on recruitment efforts to grow the number of Chinese students at MSU and on a proposed partnership with the Chinese Eastern Study Institute, a Chinese artifact- rich enterprise.

Mayo said a cooperative relationship with the institute would put MSU in league with Harvard, Stanford and other vaunted U. S. universities engaged in this type of research.

Anderson’s role on the trip was to sign “memorandums of understanding” with two Chinese cities that will set the stage for sister- city relationships.

“Basically, the MOUs were a way of saying, ‘We’d like to get to know you better,’” Anderson said.

The potential sister cities Tongxiang and Yongcheng, though far more populous than Mankato, are particularly interested in southern Minnesota’s agricultural endeavors and the Mankato community’s clean- air initiatives.

Anderson said he’s usually skeptical about the value of such grip- and- grin local delegation forays to faraway places, but he thinks the China excursion had positive merit.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at www.mankatofreepress.com

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