On January 24th the center I direct, IU's Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business (RCCPB), signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business & Economics (对外经贸大学中国WTO研究院) that promotes both institutional and research cooperation. Starting May 1st, the RCCPB will open an office within the WTO Institute on UIBE's Beijing campus. To make this work, I will be re-locating to Beijing for at least the next two years. However, I'll need to make a few trips to Bloomington each year. We will be a bi-continental center and have programs in the US to carry out. In addition, my family will remain in Bloomington. We are swapping one set of complications (higher living expenses and uprooting my wife and kids) for another kind (maintaining a family over a very long distance).I've done both before and know that neither is easy.
In my opinion, the WTO Institute is China's leading scholarly organization focused on China's participation in global trade and economic affairs. Its director is Zhang Hanlin (张汉林), and its deputy director is Tu Xinquan (屠新泉). Founded in 1951 and located in central Beijing, UIBE is one of China's premier universities, with a full range of disciplines and programs. It has an extensive array of cooperative programs with leading universities around the world. Although Beida and Tsinghua are somewhat more prestigious, everyone I talk to who has interacted with UIBE has been consistently impressed by their scholars and students. More than one China rep of a multinational company told me they prefer to hire UIBE students over those from Beida and Tsinghua because of their stronger language skills and greater willingness to take on any job thrown at them. My own experience so far has confirmed these sentiments, so I'm quite excited to see what the next few years will bring.