Oklahoma City University establishes partnership with Chinese college

Monday, August 5th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Fumbling through cultural differences and language barriers has not stopped efforts to form an alliance between Oklahoma City University and a university near Beijing.

With all the pomp and circumstance of an international summit, the two universities signed agreements Monday that would establish an Oklahoma City University campus at Oriental University City in Langfang, China, 30 minutes north of Beijing.

The accord makes Oklahoma City University the first American college to form such an alliance with the Chinese college, officials from both schools said.

The deal was approved by the Beijing Ministry of Education and is one of the first for both countries.

During his remarks, Oriental University City Vice Chairman Jin Zhen-Guo called Geng Xue-Chao, the director of the ministry of education, on his cell phone and Geng gave his blessing to the partnership.

It was nearly midnight in China as Geng extended invitations for university and state officials to visit the campus in the next year.

``There will be prosperity between the two universities and cooperating parties,'' Geng said through an interpreter.

University officials from both countries boasted that this is the first time a Chinese university has partnered with an American college in this way.

It has taken almost a year to cement the academic accord. Bill Shdeed, chairman of the Oklahoma City University Board of Trustees, said those who visited the Chinese university were impressed with the facility and curriculum.

``We are amazed at the speed this has moved at and we look forward to working with you in the future,'' Shdeed said.

Oklahoma City University will have its own campus in China. The bulk of the classes will be in English and taught by American professors.

Students who complete coursework will receive diplomas from Oklahoma City University.

Oriental University City, which has an enrollment of about 40,000 students, expects to see its numbers increase.

As the grip on student visas to the United States has tightened following the attacks of Sept. 11, many students may opt for an American program in China, Jin said.

``These will be the first study abroad students who will not have to leave their hometown,'' Jin said through an interpreter. ``We are very proud to be a part of this partnership.''