Yale College Council President Jeff Gordon ’12 will fly to China early Wednesday morning to represent Yale before an international assembly of students and leaders.
Gordon and two other Yale students, David Chan ’12 and Adam Thomas ’12, will attend Expo 2010 Shanghai China, where they will participate in a summit along with 500 student leaders from across the globe to discuss the role of youth in promoting better cities (the theme of this year’s Expo is “Better City, Better Life”). Yale will pay for Gordon’s flights, and once the students arrive, China will pay for the expenses of all three students..
Gordon will also be one of 100 student leaders to attend the Summit Forum of Expo Shanghai, a one-day conference of world leaders including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Chief Economist of the World Bank Nicholas Stern and will speak on a panel about “town-gown” relations, focusing on the example of Yale-New Haven relations.
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“We know that many of the Chinese students and organizers expect a lot from the Ivy League, especially Harvard and Yale,” Gordon said. He added that he is excited to act as a representative of Yale at the conference, and to help the University expand its international presence.
The Ivy Council, a body of student leaders from across the Ivy League, was offered eight spots at the conference for representatives of each of the eight member schools. Since representatives from Cornell, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania could not make it to the conference, Chan, vice president of external affairs for Ivy Council, and Thomas, president of the Leadership Institute at Yale, will fill the additional spots.
Gordon printed 500 business cards in preparation for the trip after the organizers of the Expo told Chan the Yale students should bring materials to represent themselves. Still, Gordon said he does not see the trip as a networking tool, since he said he will be meeting students from many countries he will never visit.
He added that he wants to learn more about how student leadership works in various countries, including at schools where student leaders rally against the administration. The YCC, in contrast, usually works alongside the administration, he said.
Chan, who helped plan the Ivy Council’s involvement in the conference, said he thinks the youth summit will help create global networks of student leaders.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to talk about the issues that are confronting our generation all over the world,” Chan said.
The Ivy Council already has relationships with student leaders in China, he said, and is now focusing on establishing relationships with students at Oxford and Cambridge and in the Middle East.
Thomas, president of the Leadership Institute at Yale and the former treasurer of the YCC, said he is excited for his first visit to China and for the opportunity to meet people with a wide range of perspectives on global issues. He said he hopes to gain insights from the conference to bring back to the Leadership Institute about how leaders can most effectively bring about change.
The youth summit is sponsored by the Executive Committee of Expo 2010 Shanghai China, the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Youth League and the China Youth Federation.