Students Finding Common Ground

The US-China Education Trust, in cooperation with Tsinghua University and George Washington University, has launched a new project to bring American and Chinese students together, working on areas where US-China cooperation is urgently needed in an era of competition and tension between the two countries.

Students Finding Common Ground—US China Collaborative Projects in An Era of Strategic Competition held its first group session virtually in late January. Thirty-two students, chosen through a competitive process, are taking part. Half of the students are enrolled in Chinese universities and half in American universities. The students have formed four groups of eight students, each group focusing on a separate topic area: 1) Climate Change and Environment, 2) Economics and Trade; 3) Education; and 4) Energy. Each group will work with mentors who have experience in the topic areas:

Climate and Environment Mentors: BIN Hu, director of research on global climate governance at the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University; Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center

Economics and Trade Mentors: SUN Chenghao heads the U.S.-EU program at Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS), Tsinghua University; Steve Suranovic, professor and former director of the International Economic Policy M.A. program at the Elliott School of International Affairs

Education Mentors: Emily M. Matson, assistant teaching professor of Modern Chinese History at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and College of Arts and Sciences, Georgetown University; XIAO Qian, vice dean of the Institute for AI International Governance (I-AIIG) and deputy director of the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) at Tsinghua University

Energy Mentors: Michael Davidson, assistant professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of the Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego; DONG Ting, fellow at the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS), Tsinghua University

Senior Advisors: The two senior advisors for the project are Professor Da Wei, who directs Tsinghua University’s Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS), and Professor Robert Sutter of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs (see below). 

DA Wei

DA Wei is the Director of the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) and Professor in the Department of International Relations, School of Social Science, Tsinghua University. Dr. Da’s research expertise covers China-US relations and US security & foreign policy. Da Wei has worked in China’s academic and policy community for more than two decades. Prior to current positions, he was the assistant president of University of International Relations (UIR) (2017-2020), and director of the Institute of American Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) (2013-2017). He has written hundreds of policy papers to Chinese government, and published dozens of academic papers in China, the US and other countries.

Bob Sutter

Bob Sutter is Professor of Practice of International Affairs at the Elliott School of George Washington University. His previously full-time academic position was Visiting Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University (2001-2011). Sutter’s government career (1968-2001) saw service as senior specialist and director of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division of the Congressional Research Service, the National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and the Pacific at the US Government’s National Intelligence Council, the China division director at the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sutter has published numerous books, articles and several hundred government reports dealing with contemporary East Asian and Pacific countries and their relations with the United States. 

The students, mentors, and advisors will meet regularly throughout the spring semester to develop their projects. Stay tuned for more on this exciting journey!

See here for biographies of Common Ground project mentors.

See here for biographies of Common Ground participating students.

See here for group project blogs as of mid April 2024.

See here for the presentation from the Nature Conservancy by Ying Li.