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This series features brief discussions with leading China experts on a range of issues in the U.S.-China relationship, including domestic politics, foreign policy, economics, security, culture, the environment, and areas of global concern. For more interviews, videos, and links to events, visit our website:

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Aug 25, 2022

Will China become the global leader in higher education in the 21st century? The modern research university was born in 19th century Germany; during the 20th, the United States took the lead. In his book Empires of Ideas, William C. Kirby argues that Chinese universities are among the most innovative educational centers in the world. Professor Kirby examines the successes of several leading universities in Germany and the United States, and compares them to three Chinese universities aspiring to become world-class institutions that can compete with the best that United States and Europe have to offer.

In an interview conducted on August 16, 2022, William C. Kirby examines the rise of the modern research university and liberal education, and the challenges facing higher education institutions in China, the United States, and Germany.

0:00 How did U.S. universities come to lead the world?

3:58 What makes a great university?

6:16 How did the German university model change higher education? 9:53: Why are Harvard, Berkeley, and Duke important to understand for the future of U.S. higher ed?

17:08 What can about Tsinghua, Nanjing University, and the University of Hong Kong tell us about Chinese higher ed?

26:00 Are there barriers to conducting research at Chinese universities?

29:03 Is the deteriorating U.S.-China relationship affecting higher ed in both countries?

About the speaker:

Follow William C. Kirby on Twitter (@BillKirbyHBS)

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