August 7th, DKU Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Denis Simon met with Mayor Du of the Kunshan City for the first time since his appointment earlier this month. Also present at the meeting were DKU Chancellor Liu Jingnan, Vice Chancellor Gao Haiyan, Vice Chancellor Chang Xiaolin and Chancellor Office Director Luke Li. Mr. Xu Yulian, member of CPC Kunshan Standing Committee, Vice Mayor Shen Xiaoling, Vice Mayor Jin Ming, Chairman Xu Weiqiu of Kunshan Venture Holding Co., Ltd., Chairman Shen Jun of Yangcheng Lake Science Park also participated in the meeting.
Mayor Du congratulated Dr. Simon on his appointment as DKU’s new executive vice chancellor and expressed admiration of Dr. Simon’s rich experiences and leadership. “You are a great leader with diverse leadership experiences in different sectors. Under your leadership, DKU will continue to make achievements in the future.” Mayor Du also said: “In addition to world-class education, DKU should further tap into Duke’s innovation resources and collaborate with Kunshan’s enterprises in a way that enhances the city’s strength and drives Kunshan’s innovation growth.
In agreement with Mayor Du’s comments, Dr. Simon said his first priority is to deliver the promise of making DKU a world-class university on a par with Duke University in the US. The goal of DKU is more than building a traditional university. It must be connected with the region and become an innovation enterprise. On top of cultivating excellent talents, DKU should help drive the social and economic development at both local and national levels.
“My personal research area is China’s science and technology policy and innovation development. In the past 30 years, I have been one of a few foreigners dedicated to research work in this area. I am on the Experts Committee of the China-US Innovation Dialogue and used to serve as a senior advisor to the Mayor of Dalian on the work of the city’s internationalization,” said Dr. Simon. “I will be very happy to leverage my personal network and resources as well as the expertise that resides in Duke to support Kunshan in achieving the goal of internationalization and transformation to a knowledge-driven economy. DKU is a member of the local community and should go beyond the campus wall to make important contributions to the social and economic development of the region.”
In the meeting, Chancellor Liu and Vice Chancellor Gao gave updates on the status of campus buildings handover and the planning work on undergraduate degree program and new graduate programs under development. They also discussed and exchanged ideas about both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the construction plans for the DKU campus.