In partnership with Qinghua University in Beijing, Yale will host a training session this summer in New Haven for the China Association of Mayors to help Chinese government officials develop cities in more environmentally sustainable ways, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies professor Alan Brewster said Monday.
Several faculty members from the environment school will participate in the program, which will begin with seminars at Qinghua’s Beijing campus before moving to New Haven, where Chinese officials will discuss issues of environmental sustainability with Yale faculty members and officials from several U.S. cities, Brewster said.
Brewster said the issue of environmental sustainability is particularly important in rapidly-developing China, and he hopes Chinese leaders will launch additional projects with Yale in the future.
“This is one project that could be one among many in the foreseeable future,” Brewster said. “This set of issues is one that China will be dealing with for the foreseeable future, and one in which our school is viewed as one of the leading in the world on these issues.”
The environment school participated in a similar program last summer that was held at Qinghua and in several European cities. But the program at Yale this year is targeted toward urban officials and will focus more on city management than last year’s seminar, which focused on natural resource management, environment school professors said.
The environment school’s training program is one of 50 Yale programs that the University runs with educational and governmental institutions in China, Yale Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Fawn Wang said. She said she expects similar collaborative efforts to develop over the next few years between the environment school and Chinese organizations.
“The agreement they signed with the Qinghua University is part of Yale’s global mission and the University fully supported this program,” Wang said.
John Ehrenfeld, a visiting scholar at the environment school who participated in last year’s seminars, says he expects this year’s program to run more smoothly than last year’s. He said he thinks faculty members from both Qinghua and Yale have worked well together in the past despite the logistical difficulties associated with organizing an academic program on the opposite side of the globe.
“This year I would expect quite a lot of change,” Ehrenfeld said. “Things are not the same there, but a lot of collegiality was developed and I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t going to be a lot of change and a lot of improvements this year.”
Brewster said the environment school has not yet finalized the list of participating faculty for this year’s seminars.
The program will be sponsored by Veolia Environment, a multi-national corporation based in France that does work in water treatment, water delivery and waste management transportation, Brewster said.