With 1.3 billion people in China, its influence is starting to shape the modern world. China’s continued growth will make it a global power by the time UVU students enter the early parts of their careers.
In order to keep students informed and able to build careers around the growing Chinese influence, UVU is holding a conference called “China’s Global Impact” on March 23 and 24 in the Lakeview Room in the Library. The conferences will start at 8:30 a.m. both days and run until 4:15 p.m.
The conference will look at getting a picture of how much China influences the world, America and even Utah. They will have presenters who will discuss the economic, cultural and political influence that the country has on America.
“We try to get different views,” said Martin Woesler, an associate professor in Chinese Studies. “We will have 20 speakers, some from China, Africa, Europe and Canada, most of the continents. There are different perspectives from different cultures.”
Woesler said that Africa looks at China as a builder for their country in exchange for resources. There will be different speakers from around the world including different universities in the state so students can look at the whole picture of what China can do for them.
With the rise in power and influence that China has there has been fear about what they could do to change the global economy. However, according to Woesler, Utah has done a good job of working with and not against the Chinese.
“Here in Utah, they realized very early that it is necessary to change something,” Woesler said. “Many people fear the Chinese economic power, but in Utah there was a different approach. They said ‘we just learn Chinese ourselves’ and they started dual-immersion programs in high schools.”
By 2020, Utah is expected to graduate10,000 high school students every year who are bilingual in Chinese and English. With this in mind, Utah universities have programs to enhance students’ ability to work for and with companies in China. This conference will include speakers and professors from BYU, University of Utah and Weber State.
Of about 980 students who graduate high school each year, 103 study some form of Chinese studies at UVU. Woesler puts together conferences like this one in order to get more students to come to UVU, or to have more students look at Chinese studies as a viable course of study.
Woesler wanted to point out that UVU has expertise in Chinese classes and that the first Chinese classes were taught at UVU 20 years ago. UVU is currently working on a few new minors pertaining to Chinese studies.
There are two minors for the language and one in the business program, and Woesler expects a pending Chinese language minor in the fall. There is also a minor in Chinese Studies that will be voted and worked on in the fall for the following year or two. As well as a Chinese Commerce minor that is in the pipeline.
This conference could be beneficial for anyone that is interested in starting a business that could have ties in China.
“Whatever you start, normally you rely on companies that have an average growth of nine percent,” Woesler said. “Some have like 20 percent especially in new media and digital media.”
The time to start a business over there is now so that they are able to grow with different companies.
Woesler has built multiple Chinese relations programs at different colleges including Harvard last year. He pointed out that different departments have to work together to build the Chinese program and that he is just a part of the growing program that includes multiple professors and disciplines.
For anyone who is not sure about going to the conference, Woesler stressed the importance of learning from different sources and perspectives.
“We have three different disciplines: economics, politics and culture,” Woesler said. “And we ask them to sit on a panel at the end of the day to raise some questions that can’t be answered from one discipline.”
There will also be some Chinese music and art from UVU students.