Our graduates must be ‘truly global citizens,’ Denis Simon tells university leaders | Duke Kunshan University

Our graduates must be ‘truly global citizens,’ Denis Simon tells university leaders

May 31, 2019


Executive Vice Chancellor Denis Simon presides over a discussion at the 2019 China-Japan University Exhibitions and Forum for Presidents

Universities should do more to ensure their students develop a truly global mindset and are prepared for an increasingly complex world, Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan, said at an international conference.

Dr. Simon made the remarks while presiding over a roundtable on “Developing Globally-Minded Human Resources” during the 2019 China-Japan University Exhibitions and Forum for Presidents.

Opening the discussion, he said globalization is one of the most pervasive forces driving political, economic and technological affairs, while the need for talented graduates who can work effectively across borders and cultures continues to rise with the movement of people and know-how.

“While universities and colleges have paid great lip-service to the idea of campus internationalization and training global citizens, the reality is that most institutions of higher education have not been able to do an adequate job of creating a true global mindset among their graduates,” he said. “It’s time for universities to rethink how they prepare students for the increasingly complex world they will face when they graduate.

“Learning how to collaborate on a transnational level will be one of the hallmarks for career success as we try to better prepare students for a world in which change is ubiquitous, uncertainty is rising and numerous daunting global challenges persist.”

Dr. Simon was joined at the roundtable by the presidents, vice presidents and senior administrators of six Japanese universities – Iwate, Kagawa, Osaka, Saga, Aizu and Miyazaki – and six Chinese universities, namely Beijing Jiaotong, Shanghai Jiao Tong, Chongqing, Dalian University of Technology, the University of Science and Technology of China and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.

During the discussion, they talked on the need to better deploy technology to deepen international knowledge transfers, and the challenges facing efforts to grow China-Japan educational collaboration.


Dr. Simon meets with Kazuki Okimura, principal fellow and former president of the Japan Science and Technology Agency

The conference, which was held in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on May 25 and 26, attracted presidents, vice presidents and senior administrators from almost 90 institutions of higher education. Co-organized by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), it is the largest bilateral exchange event between China and Japan in the areas of science, technology and education, with over 1,200 participants including educators, scholars, government officials and entrepreneurs.

On the first day, Dr. Simon and Robin Wang, associate director of Duke Kunshan’s Office of International Relations, met with Kazuki Okimura, principal fellow and former president of the JST, and several other high-level officials from the JST.

They exchanged their views on further promoting innovation and development, cooperative research, science and technology transformation, talent exchanges, and the research policies of Chinese and Japanese educational institutions.

Okimura said the JST had established the Chinese Comprehensive Research Center in 2006 and carried out a series of dialogues and cooperation projects, including websites, a bilingual research database and the Sakura Science Plan.

The plan was launched in 2014 and provides short-term exchange opportunities for young people in China and Japan. Okimura said he hopes students from Duke Kunshan can take advantage of the program to experience Japan’s cutting-edge technologies.

Both parties also proposed jointly organizing a science and technology innovation development seminar at the end of 2019.