I'm leading a delegation of IU professors, Indiana business executives, and local journalists on a trip to Hangzhou and Shanghai during Spring Break. We leave in a few hours. We'll land at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport, then take a two-hour bus ride to Hangzhou. There we'll participate in a conference hosted by Zhejiang University, IU's strategic partner in China. Because Indiana and Zhejiang are both along the coast, it's natural they are sister state-provinces. :)
Following the conference, we'll visit with the Zhejiang government, a TV station, and tour several companies, including Alibaba and Geely. We'll then make our way to Shanghai, with a few more visits, including to Crown Biosciences, founded by former IU professor and Eli Lilly researcher, Faming Zhang. We'll also tour Shanghai General Motors, Cummins Fleetguard, and the LCD/flat panel manufacturer Tianma.
While I'm thrilled to be traveling with my colleagues and three terrific entrepreneurs -- Mat Orrego of Cornerstone Information Systems, Matthew Neff of University Health Management and CHV Capital, and Ben Shobert of Teleos -- I'm particularly excited about the two journalists coming with us, Chris Fyall of the Bloomington Herald-Times and Greg Andrews of the Indianapolis Business Journal. The Midwest media covers China some, but not to the extent it needs to. So our center created a program to help Indiana journalists better understand China and figure out how to report on the country in a way that is relevant to their audience. Chris and Greg are visiting China for the very first time. I've visited so often that it's easy to lose the thrill of the trip. Not this time. To make things even more exciting, Greg is Greg Lattimore Andrews. His great uncle was Owen Lattimore, one of the West's first China specialists. Owen and Greg's grandmother, Eleanor, lived in Shanghai from 1904 to 1920. One scholar we are meeting translated Owen Lattimore's memoirs. Now if we could only find where the Lattimores lived, that would be so, so cool.
I'll write more in this space as the trip progresses. But you can also follow us through the blog, "IU Takes You to China" (印大华夏行). Its author is George Vlahakis, a manager in IU's Office of University Communications. This is also George's first trip, and I'm excited to see China through his eyes.
(Full disclosure: Faming Zhang, Mat Orrego, and Ben Shobert are on the advisory board of the Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business, which I direct.)