Successful China Trip Will Yield Closer Collaboration, AAAS Officials Say
Alan I. Leshner
AAAS will build new cooperative ties with science and engineering interests in the People's Republic of China following a successful six-day visit to Beijing that ended last week, top association officials report.
"We were tremendously impressed by the progress and plans for Chinese science," said AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner. "They are moving forward at a very rapid pace. We also found many organizations enthusiastic about collaborating with AAAS on a wide array of programs."
The trip was Leshner's first to China as AAAS's top executive, and the first by a high-ranking AAAS delegation since the 1990s. The AAAS visit was hosted by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), AAAS's counterpart in the country.
Leshner, joined by Chief International Officer Shere Abbott and by Education and Human Resources Director Shirley Malcom, engaged in a series of meetings with top Chinese science, education and engineering leaders before the visit ended on 23 June.
On 22 June, Leshner delivered two speeches. The first, to a symposium of the International Network on Public Communication of Science and Technology, was entitled "The Evolving Context for Science and Society." The second, "Environment for Science, Society and Public Policy," was delivered at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to some 40 directors-general and S&T administrators from CAS research institutes in the Beijing area and from various bureaus in the CAS headquarters.
CAST Secretary General Cheng Donghong was chair of the symposium; she was a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow in the United States in 1998-99 and a visiting scholar at AAAS in the summer of 1999. CAST Vice President Deng Nan, former Vice Minister of Science and Technology, hosted the AAAS delegation visit.
During the visit, the AAAS delegation met with some of the top science, engineering and education officials in China. Xu Guanhua, the head of the Ministry of Science and Technology, hosted a dinner for the delegation on 21 June. The AAAS group also met with President Xu Kuangdi, head of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and former mayor of Shanghai; President Lu Yongxiang, head of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; President Chen Yiyu, head of the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China, an organization patterned on the U.S. National Science Foundation; Zhao Qinping, vice minister of Education; former Deputy Minister of Education Wei Yu; and with senior representatives of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"We are extremely grateful to our hosts at CAST for arranging such high-level meetings," said Abbott. "We reconnected with some old friends, made essential new contacts, and reaffirmed our common purpose in advancing science and technology for a sustainable future."
Malcom, making her fourth visit to China, said she was "deeply impressed" by the Chinese interest in forming collaborative relations with AAAS on subjects ranging from science education to the role of women in science.
"There's a lot of opportunity for moving ahead on joint projects," she said. "In some cases, we're already jumping on those opportunities."
Edward W. Lempinen
28 June 2005