Forum explores challenges, potential of U.S.-Chinese collaborations

Pericles Lewis at a podium, addressing a crowd
Vice President Pericles Lewis told participants at the inaugural Yale U.S. China Forumthere are 800 Chinese students at Yale and more than 650 Yale students learning Chinese in that nation's universities.

Yale Vice President for Global Strategy Pericles Lewis was among the featured speakers at the inaugural Yale U.S.-China Forum held April 28 at the Yale School of Management.

The student-run forum, titled “The China Accelerator for World Development,” brought together over 50 experts to discuss the most significant and intriguing topics requiring U.S-Chinese collaboration today, ranging from healthcare innovations to regulating new technologies.

Lewis, who is also deputy provost for international affairs and founding president of Yale-NUS College, opened the forum with a description of Yale's long and deep relationship with China. Starting in 1835 when a Yale graduate established the first hospital in Guangzhou, Yale's partnership with China in medical collaboration has continued to this day with the Fudan-Yale Biomedical Research Center. Lewis stressed that with over 800 Chinese students at Yale and over 650 Yale students learning Chinese at universities in China, China is integral to Yale's desire to foster, in the words of Timothy Dwight, “citizens of the world.”

Following Lewis’ remarks, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management, moderated a conversation with Victor Wang, co-founder of ZhenFund, and Raymond Chang, managing director at NXT Venture Fund, about the role of Chinese venture capital firms in fostering entrepreneurship, the changing landscape of investors, and the challenges when adapting innovative technologies from the West for the Chinese market, compared to developing indigenous products.

Throughout the day, forum participants were able to hear from leading scholars and practitioners at the 12 panels. Brad Huang, founder and chair of Lotus Capital Management, and co-founder and executive council of Yale Center Beijing, shared with the audience his experience and thoughts of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. During the healthcare panel, Yale Professor Yung-Chi Cheng and Peikwen Cheng, co-founders of the pharmological company Yiviva, talked about their success in developing a drug drawn from a 1,800 year old Chinese formula that has proven effective at treating liver cancer. Professor Alan Plattus and architects Na Wei and Yichen Lu discussed urbanization in China and their journey of using architecture to connect with people and build community. The startup panel featured young entrepreneurs addressing specific pain points regarding educating, employing, and empowering cross-border talent.

In the closing keynote, Weiwei Zhang, professor of international relations at Fudan University, introduced the Chinese model for global governance and its potential in a changing geopolitical landscape. Other speakers and panelists included Professors Stephen Roach, Robert Blocker, and Jing Tsu of Yale; David Barboza of The New York Times; and Yale Greenberg Fellow Victor Yuan.

Learn more about Yale’s long and deep relationship with China.

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